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Re: Ian's DFSG2 would harm Debian and Free Software

On Wed, Dec 02, 1998 at 02:14:34PM +0100, Avus wrote:
> Ian's DFSG2 would harm Debian and Free Software
> The new version of the DFSG, as proposed by Ian Jackson, would have
> disastrous consequences on the public image of Debian, and would lead to
> a split of the free software movement, if not Debian itself.

It already has.  A few of us are on cleanup but I suspect it won't be right
again competely till the thing is killed.

> I'll take the time and sketch how this step would be received/seen by
> the public.
> - This was obviously motivated by the QPL draft for Qt, and the
> intention is clearly that Qt and KDE be kept out of Debian

No it wasn't, but it has been seen that way.

> - Those KDE advocates were right who said that Debian (i.e. the radical
> 'majority' of developers) simply don't *want* KDE in their distribution;
> that Debian lied about their real motivation to exclude KDE and that
> they abuse their Social Contract to further personal preferences.

I've already heard that one too, and in fact if you've read the argument
about the dfsg2 you know that most everyone is against it.

> - The proposal comes from a convinced KDE enemy/hater, who even voted
> against the KDE newsgroup. Not convincing for fair suggestion.
> - He wants to push it through in a rush, "by the end of [his] term as
> Debian leader", to exploit the still existant anti-Qt and anti-KDE
> feeling among some developers. Particularly peculiar is that this
> proposal would be put into effect by the end of the year, i.e. before
> the final QPL is out. Instead of working with TrollTech to try and
> improve the current QPL draft, this would give a clear signal to them:
> "We don't care about your problems, we simply don't want you in!"

It won't pass a vote.  (Thanks be to higher powers for that!)

> - The fact that Ian wants to finish this in his "term as leader"
> indicates something else: He wants to raisen his profile on the expense
> of Debian, eradicate the signs of former Debian leader Bruce Perens and
> bring himself in a good position of becoming e.g. the next SPI
> president. With Open Source becoming increasingly popular, there is a
> lot of fame to be earned.

I'm not getting into personal motives.

> - Even other Debian developers have pointed out that the arguments
> against the 'patch only' licenses do not hold (see Chris Waters
> http://www.debian.org/Lists-Archives/debian-devel-9811/msg02412.html).
> Most of what seems to be problematic is of practical (RMS), i.e.
> technical nature and can be solved with technical means (like improving
> CVS). It would be more sensible if Debian negotiated with TT to a
> temporary 'CVS exemption' from the patch clause, until CVS can handle
> this better.

Troll Tech seems to be adopting a license which doesn't have the dreaded
"patch clause".  This license is based on my work mostly independant of
Debian, and I have major problems with the dfsg2.  This is likely to be a
moot point as there's a good chance the final QPL will pass the dfsg2 if it
ever happened, which it isn't going to.

> - Most important: The respected personalities in the Linux community
> will sharply object to this proposal, because
> o It's incompatible with the OSD
> o It prefers license over technical superiority even among free software
> o It's incompatible with the FSF's free software definition
> This is why ESR, Linus and RMS won't welcome Ian's DFSG. This means that
> a large part of the Linux community will also reject it.

Valid points.  Speculation, but reasonably on-target considering.

> All in all, Debian should provide *guidelines* for free software, not a
> "License for Licenses" like this new draft. 
> After all, it is the free decision of the Debian developers what
> software gets in and what not. Discussing and deciding such issues has
> always been a part of Debian's culture. 

We even have a new list for discussing licenses and whether or not a given
license fits the dfsg or not.  I'm on it, and you can be sure I'll offer my
opinions when I have them.

As for you and this message, you're just one more voice saying the same
things we're saying.

Show me the code or get out of my way.

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