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

On 2 Dec 1998, James Troup wrote:

> Craig Sanders <cas@taz.net.au> writes:
> > the DFSG as it was written is a simple, plain english set of
> > guidelines.
> Simple, plain English and woefully inadequate for being able to
> clearly, easily and quickly determine if a licence meets them.

i've never had any problems figuring out if something is DFSG free or

i've never seen anyone else having great difficulty in doing so, either.

occasionally someone posts an "is this license DFSG free?" message to
debian-devel or debian-private. consensus is usually reached within a
few replies.

i think your "woefully inadequate" is a gross exaggeration.

in fact, until DFSG2 came up nobody even seemed to think it was
inadequate, let alone woefully so.....but overnight it has gone from
being one of the defining documents of debian to being "woefully

hearing the original DFSG being described as "woefully inadequate" makes
me even more convinced that it should not change at all...better to leave
it alone than to risk the spirit of it being corrupted in the enthusiasm
for revision.

> > the proposed DFSG2 struck me as being an offensively officious set
> > of rules.
> Both of them are guidelines, but both of them are rules in Debian in
> the sense that policy requires software in main satisfy them.

so you honestly believe that the way that DFSG and Ian's proposed DFSG2
are worded is equivalent?

that is bizarre. one is written in pseduo-legalese, and one is in plain
english. language and style differ greatly - they have a very different
affect on the reader.

> > rules tend to get my back up which motivates me to look for
> > loopholes to get around being controlled/limited by them. i think
> > that is a reasonable and common response to rules.
> You think it's a reasonable response to policy to try and find
> loopholes in it?  That's scary.

i think it is a reasonable response to rules in general. in fact, for many
people it is an automatic response. rules suck, especially if they are
unnecesary rules which gratuitously displace common sense.

the point of this message being that if debian changes from a "place"
run predominantly by common sense and intelligence, to a place run
predominantly by rules then debian will deserve to die....in fact, if
that happens it will already have died but may not have noticed the
stench yet.


craig sanders

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