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Re: DFSG2: The patch exception

> >  This exception is only available if the restriction was imposed no
> >  later than the 1st of January 1999.  The exception is likely to be
> >  removed in a future version of these guidelines.  For rationale, see
> >  Appendix B.
> Why should software be less free, because it was released a day too late?
> That's absurd.

It is useful for us to define what *Debian* considers free.  Putting
software encumbered by unfriendly license terms into non-free means
that we are making a stand about how we want free software licenses to
work.  The patch requirement does not grant the freedom to reuse the
source of the original work in any way one sees fit.  That's not
freedom.  I take pieces of code from other projects regularly when I
believe the code to be well written and tested.  Why WASTE time
rewriting the algorithm?  It hinders progress and software freedom.

The date is a cutoff where we say that we will no longer consider
software meeting specified criteria to be free in our archive.  We
continue to ship previous packages because it is useful to do s

> > Or possibly without the likely to be removed' clause, if we can't
> > persuade eg Knuth.                                   

Or, if we find a better solution to the same problem.  After all TeX
has more than a couple of blemishes.

> I don't understand how your definition of free software can be changed by a
> single person not being persuaded one way or the other.

The point is that TeX is a big package that many people depend on.  It
was sufficiently free to be accepted into Debian under DFSG1.  If we
preclude software requiring patches from the main archive and if Knuth
refuses to eliminate the patch requirement from his license, then we
must maintain the dated clause as long as we ship TeX.

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