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Re: Draft new DFSG

>> "j" == john  <john@dhh.gt.org> writes:

j> wording.  This would effectively plug all loopholes and give Ian a
j> chance to talk us into throwing out particular licenses that he finds
j> repugnant even if they are technically in compliance.

I object. If a license is DFSG compliant, there must not be a way to
exclude a package from main.

This is extremly important IMHO. The DFSG have to be objective rules
which one can depend on. If we expell a package although it is DFSG
compliant, we will loose all respect in the comunity and it will look
like a arbitrary decision. Even if we state good reasons.

Our high moral status will be nullified. Noone would take any
statement we made about license and free software seriuos. "Don't tell 
me about licenses. You can always turn your mind when you don't like

Let's take the KDE status before the new license. We said "KDE will be 
reincluded, after the license got cleaned up". Many said, we just had
personal reasons for excluding KDE and if the license problem gets
resolved, we would invent some other problem.

I told then the DFSG assure that KDE will be reincluded, and that
it is an objective measure. No personal attitude is involved.

I want to be able to make this statement in the future as well.

j> No standard such as the DFSG can be completely deterministic.
j> Someone must be able to render authoritative interpretations.  I
j> propose to make it explicit that the developers be that someone.
j> Would prefer that it be the technical committee?  The Leader?

This is something different. Like laws, any legal document sometimes
need an interpretation in the spirit of the respective
paragraph. There may be situations which we had not in mind, when the
DFSG was written (like NPL and QPL). When the DFSG can not assess a
certain situation, they have to be interpreted.

My proposal:

Some knowledgeable developer should clearly point out which parts of a 
license can not be assessed by the DFSG and work out some (multiple) 
interpretation. This is followed be a discussion period and 
a vote. The result is a addendum to the DFSG and will used as an
interpretation guide for similar license clauses in the future. The
addendum is made public, so anyone can forsee our reaction about a
specific license condition.

This should only used as last resort, when we really can't classify a

The DFSG must not be a moving target.

Just my 0,02 DM. Hopefully I made my point clear. Manoj, please look at 
the spirit of my mail, not at the actual wording when you flame me


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