Re: Please remove RFCs from the documentation in Debian packages
On Fri, Jul 04, 2003 at 12:47:19PM -0500, Chad Walstrom wrote:
> To require or demand that the IETF changes their copyright policy or
> their publishing practices to cater to someone else's idea of what the
> document should be used for is plain arogance. Respect the wishes of
> the original authors and the established, reliable publishing policy of
> the IETF, and use the document in the proper manner: reference it in
> your own supplemental documentation.
I don't think anyone is implying that they should do that. What is being
stated is that the license terms are not Free. We have a commitment that
everything in Debian main is Free. Since the RFC license is NOT Free, it
can't be in main. This does NOT imply anything about the usefulness of
RFCs, merely about their Freedom.
This is one of the stronger arguments for keeping non-free around IMO.
There *are* things which aren't Free, and very likely shouldn't ever be Free
which nevertheless are useful things for our users to have. I use hwb on a
regular basis, for example, and it is in non-free. I understand and agree
with why it is in non-free, and I see no real problem with this. It's STILL
useful enough to have it packaged and available to our users IMO.
> I really don't see what's wrong with the RFC copyright. It is freely
> distributable reference documentation. It is not software. Perhaps it
> shouldn't be distributed in Debian "main" because of a pedantic
> interpretation of the DFSG, (there's that software reference again) and
> Social Contract. Fine, but it should still be packaged. It is a
> valuable reference, and having the convenience of package installation
> improves it's distribution amongst developers.
Exactly. We *must* be able to distribute by the terms of the license.
Modifiability is less important for things like RFCs, certainly. I still
think it's possible to license RFCs in a way I consider Free but which
preserves their usefulness though. For example:
You are free to distribute this RFC. You are free to modify the RFC and
redistribute your modifications provided it is clearly marked as bein a
modified version and NOT endorsed by IETF (perhaps forcing a rename
I think something along those lines is Free and would pass DFSG (needs to be
fleshed out and put into legalspeak, obviously), whilst still providing the
protections that RFCs need from rogue modified standards documents.