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Re: [prePROPOSAL] DFSG (draft 7)

On Fri, Feb 19, 1999 at 10:10:17PM -0600, David Welton wrote:
> I appreciate your work in trying to improve the DFSG, but I have some
> misgivings about the whole enterprise.
> 1. The original DFSG was widely lauded, being clear, fairly
> comprehensive, and to the point.  It is now used as the definition for
> Open Source software, and accepted by many others as a good litmus
> test of freedom.  Maybe the new one would reach this level of
> acceptance, but I highly doubt it.  Most people are pretty happy with
> the current DFSG.  If there are problems, why not just change the few
> things that aren't ok?
Isn't that pretty much where Ian started?  The document has it's current
form more because the draft is written in sgml and that's the way
debiandoc2text formats it.  The other format change was seperating the
"give this" from the "it's ok to require this" parts.

> 2. If you are going to try and come up with a more or less legal
> document, that really does attempt to spell out everything you can or
> can't do, you should retain the services of a legal professional
> (unless you have some law training that I don't know about).  You
> should then refer questions about particular licenses to the
> aforementioned legal professional.  If we want to have a 'real' legal
> document, let's do it properly.  RMS did this for the GPL.
The current DFSG attpemted to spell out what was and was not acceptable.
It' left a lot of holes.  We're trying to close them, yes, but this isn't
supposed to be some binding contract.  This should be a clear statement.
That way, software developers can tell easily where they stand with Debian
if they do "foo" in their license.  The number of questions that crop up
on -legal (and added to the traffic of the other lists before -legal was
created) should indicate that the DFSG could be more clearer.

> 3. You should probably give up the G in DFSG, as these no longer seem
> guidelines, but a more precise, legalistic attempt to define exactly
> what free software is and isn't.
Again, it's *not* an attempt to be legalistic.  The opposite, it's an 
attempt to be clear.  Clearer than the current DFSG.

> I'm sorry to have been rather harsh in ways, as it's evident that a
> lot of effort has gone into this, but I think it's a misguided effort.

Opinions are always welcome, that's part of what makes Debian thrive.

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