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Re: DFSG2: Why we need clear guidelines, not woolly ones

On Thu, Dec 03, 1998 at 03:07:26PM -0500, James A. Treacy wrote:

> Ian is correct in asserting that we need a tighter definition of what
> DFSG means. Most people aren't concerned with the details, though,  and
> either method below will satisfy their needs. 
> A preamble can be written which summarizes the document that follows.
> It is important that it be clear that the more precise text that
> follows is the actual license.
> An alternative is to write an overview document that states the
> main points of the license and contains links to the relevant section
> of the actual license.
> What is the distinction between these? Preambles are short and attached
> to the formal document. The second would be separate and could be longer.

I can't speak for the rest of the world, but I don't trust rule documents
that "summarize" what they mean in short, and then expand on it for pages
afterward.  If it takes you ten pages to _really_ say what you mean, then if
I only read the preamble, I'm going to misunderstand something.

And then we have the same problem over again.

I still don't agree with the long-winded DFSG2 style.  I do, however, agree
that the "discrimination against fields of endeavour" clause in DFSG1 is
pretty hard to understand.  But if that's the only real problem, does it
justify a complete rewrite?

I've been subscribed to debian-devel for a long time and I've seen lots of
license discussions, but other than people claiming the GPL discriminates
against fields of endeavour, there haven't been many _difficult_ licensing
decisions.  (KDE kept coming up too, but that's because of popularity, not
lack of clarity in the DFSG...)

Have fun,


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