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Re: Mass bug filing: Cryptographic protection against modification



On Wed, May 05, 2004 at 11:48:31AM -0700, Brian Nelson wrote:
> Don Armstrong <don@donarmstrong.com> writes:
> 
> > On Wed, 05 May 2004, Brian Nelson wrote:
> >> He's making a valid point.  The social contract now reads, "Debian
> >> will remain 100% free", and since license files are part of Debian,
> >> that's a violation of the contract.
> >
> > License files that are legal documents (eg. are incorporated by
> > copyright) have been excluded from needing to comply with the DFSG for
> > quite some time. [Primarily because in their position as a legal text
> > they can't be modified anyway, so they must necessarily violate some
> > portions of the DFSG.]
> 
> I understand, but it's still not allowed by the SC.  "100% free" doesn't
> give us any leeway.

Except that "Free" is a referential term which is drawn, for the purposes
of Debian, from the DFSG. Precedent and current practice says that issues
of DFSG-freeness are the domain of the ftpmasters, generally operating on a
(near or total) concensus from the debian-legal mailing list.

The standing opinion there for some time (certainly every time I've seen
this issue raised, which has been some number) is that a license text which
is required solely to allow us to distributed the software under said
license is Free by the DFSG, in that it is a pre-requisite to being able to
establish and protect the other freedoms required by the DFSG in a world
with legal systems that require such.

> I'm not going to argue that we should throw out the GPL because we can't
> distribute its text because that would be insane.  Throwing out the SC
> seems a lot more rational at this point.

"It isn't Free!"

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

> > It is quite trivial to distinquish between a license which is a legal
> > document necessary to include and a license which is just text. The
> > latter must comply with the DFSG, while the former need not.[1]
> >
> > Again, if you seriously think this is a problem (beyond the mere
> > argumentative games that are being played here) bring up the issues on
> > -legal, or -project or propose a proposal on -vote.
> 
> It's a problem because it's unquestionably a violation of the SC (albeit
> a silly one), and we can't knowingly violate the SC.  Does no else
> agree?

Er. Unquestionable... no. I believe I just questioned it, above. Again,
IDNTIMWYTIM. The key to undoing the Escherian knot of logic is to
understand that they're Guidelines for this reason, and the "court" of
interpretation is debian-legal, which has rendered it's opinion clear
numerous times. In fact, I'm fairly sure this was one of the questions
proposed for the d-l FAQ.
-- 
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>                                        ,''`.
Debian GNU/kNetBSD(i386) porter                                      : :' :
                                                                     `. `'
http://nienna.lightbearer.com/                                         `-

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