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Re: Mass bug filing: Cryptographic protection against modification



On Wed, May 05, 2004 at 10:36:02PM +0200, Goswin von Brederlow wrote:
> Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org> writes:
> 
> > 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
> 
> Which does not apply here since the licenses are distributed on their
> own and not just acompaning some code under that license.
> 
> The reason for that was, I belive, so that not everyone needs to ship
> a full copy of the licenses, thus saving space.

For fairly meaningless values of 'of their own' which involve a distinction
of organization (packaging), rather than one of practice (you don't install
base-files without things those licenses apply to, in practice).

However, if that's just too big a nit to leave alone, the suggestion of
proposing another amendment (to the DFSG) to clarify why we allow this very
narrow gray area in the guidelines would still fix it.

> The argument that they are legal documents applies but what is
> stopping anyone from adding source to legal documents? E.g:
> 
> // This license applies to the following source
> int main() {
> }
> // and may not be modified.
> 
> Then you just compile the license into your program and you have DFSG
> free source with an invariant section.

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Depends on what the ftpmasters (normally relying
on debian-legal) decide about it. *Guidelines*. Meant to be interpreted.
If the above was done for clearly obnoxious reasons, it would generally
be shot down rapidly; if it were more complex, there would be a lot of
arguments over whether a license-terms-only invariant was acceptable that
would look a lot like some of the debates over the GFDL. That's how it's
meant to work.

Still, it is becoming more and more clear to me that the concept of
applying common sense by way of understanding that they are guidelines, and
noth a definition, is lost on a lot of folks. So maybe a DFSG amendment IS
called for, just to force the endless discussions to turn into SOMETHING
new.

> > 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.
> 
> So Debian has some files that the SC does not apply to. Nice. That
> sounds a bit like "100% free sex, for just 9.99$".

No, the SC applies to them, via the DFSG. It's the 'G' part of that, and
what that implies about handling things that fall on the borders, that
seems to be getting lost here.

> Has debian-legal reafirmed that opinion after the "editorial" SC
> change? Because before it the SC didn't apply. The argument is that
> _now_ it does [which is quite insane].

Frankly, most of the folks I've seen talk about it considered the SC to
apply then, just as it does now. I suggest, however, that if you doubt
that, you take a poll of them. See Branden's poll WRT the GFDL last year
(IIRC) for an example of a reasonable way to take such a poll.
-- 
Joel Baker <fenton@debian.org>                                        ,''`.
Debian GNU/kNetBSD(i386) porter                                      : :' :
                                                                     `. `'
http://nienna.lightbearer.com/                                         `-

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