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

On Thu, 3 Dec 1998, Tyson Dowd wrote:

> On 02-Dec-1998, Dale Scheetz <dwarf@polaris.net> wrote:
> > While the need for patches for modification causes some logistical
> > problems, we should never seek to simplify those logistics at the
> > expense of freedom.
> The logistical problems caused by patches are rather small, and can be
> managed easily.  For an example, I invite people to look at the Debian
> source archives.  Actually the Redhat sources are even better because
> of RPMs multiple patch feature.
> I would oppose any DFSG that discriminated on a relatively benign
> irritation like this.  I think that worrying about it wastes a lot
> more time than actually applying some patches.

i don't know about Ian or anyone else, but my objection to licenses that
only allow mods to be distributed as patches is that they unneccessarily
restrict freedom in two ways:

firstly, they make it an enormous hassle to fork the source code....so
much hassle that it isn't worth doing. sometimes forking is necessary
and/or useful. sometimes it is done for good reasons, sometimes for "bad"
reasons....the reason for forking doesn't matter, it's a freedom we should
be able to take for granted with free software.

secondly (and more importantly), they prevent the code from being re-used
in another free software project. this is not just a hassle, it's a fairly
severe curtailment of free software freedom.

that said, i am NOT in favour of changing the DFSG at this moment
in time. i think the reasons for debian accepting the patch clause
compromise are as valid today as they were last june.

i can accept the need for this compromise, but i don't have to like
it...and i think debian should work hard to convince people that doing
this is a bad idea.


craig sanders

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