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Re: Documentation is/is not software [was: NEW handling: About rejects, and kernels]

On Tue, Mar 22, 2005 at 12:32:30PM +0000, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 22, 2005 at 09:06:19AM -0300, Humberto Massa wrote:
> > And I believe that the Vancouver proposal, if implemented as intended up
> > to now, will not only affect what Debian really *is*, but in some ways
> > will *destroy* what Debian is.
> Debian has already decided to destroy what it is by giving in to the
> crackpots who insist that everything is software.

Way to set the tone for a productive debate.

At any rate, the problem with trying to treat different types of bitstreams
differently is to classify them, and identify a different set of freedoms
which are appropriate -- and, more pretinently, why those different set of
freedoms is important.  The "crackpots" won more or less by default, because
nobody was able to come up with either of these two pre-requisites.  This
suggests to me that either (a) it can't actually be done, in which case the
"crackpots" are, after all, right; or (b) Debian is so filled with
"crackpots" that there is nobody who actually wants to see documentation
treated differently to executable programs.

I used to sit in the "documentation requires different freedoms" camp, but
eventually just couldn't support my feelings with logical argument.  But
there are significantly more powerful minds than mine out there; I look
forward to hearing their arguments in favour of different freedoms for

If someone can come up with a bright-line test for differentiating
executable materials and documentation, or executable materials and say
firmware, and can produce a "DFDocumentationG" or "DFFirmwareG" with
effective reasoning, I will be most impressed, and will most likely support
their position.  Until then, however, I am firmly in the "all things we ship
are software, and the DFSG applies to all of that" camp.

- Matt
crackpot and proud

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