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Re: [prePROPOSAL] DFSG (draft 7)

On Fri, Feb 19, 1999 at 06:31:00PM -0600, David Welton wrote:
> On Fri, Feb 19, 1999 at 06:57:05PM -0500, Dale Scheetz wrote:
> > I don't find anything here that isn't covered in the current
> > DFSG. The wording is much more confusing on issues that should be
> > cut and dried.
> Yep, this is too much document to worry about.  

It's three printed pages. 

It could be made shorter, but then it wouldn't really be Debian's free
software requirements -- you'd have to make sure it met the DFSG, and
/still/ ask on -legal whether it's /really/ free or not. And for those
who don't ask on -legal, we get people saying "Hey wow, this passes the
DFSG, it must be good! Why the hell don't these Debian people like it?"
(although this is more s/DFSG/OSD/ and s/Debian/Open-Source/ at the

In particular things like license termination, and restricting fees are
just implicitly allowed by the current DFSG, but we're happy to allow one,
and not happy to allow the other. Is this really helpful?

And at the moment, you do have to go to "law school" to understand the
DFSG. How come the GPL doesn't violate the "Discriminate against fields
of endeavour" clause, it discriminates against proprietry software
programmers doesn't it (especially with things like libreadline)? And
what about the "License must not contaminate other software", Qt's just a
shared library distributed along with KDE, how come one of their licenses
is allowed to contaminate the other to make KDE undistributable? Doesn't
that make them both really evil or something?

Yes, I do know the answers to all these. But you do have to know a fair
bit about what's going on to come up with them, and the answers don't
particularly satisfy everyone. The draft DFSG that Darren and I are
working makes these issues clearer, in my opinion, but at the expense of
making the guidelines themselves longer. I don't see this as a bad thing.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. PGP encrypted mail preferred.

``Like the ski resort of girls looking for husbands and husbands looking
  for girls, the situation is not as symmetrical as it might seem.''

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