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Re: All GPL'ed programs have to go to non-free

(Branden, I've BCC'd you on this mail since you're mentioned, as I don't
expect that you follow every thread on -devel.  It's a BCC to keep people
from copying you on further mails in the thread and I won't copy you
on it further.)

On Sat, Apr 16, 2005 at 04:17:24AM +0200, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> Where's the official statement of Debian on this issue?

Since when does Debian make official statements (or even form a collective
opinion) on every little flawed argument people pose to mailing lists?
You're arguing that, since Debian allows unmodifiable license texts
in main, it should allow other unmodifiable stuff, too (or otherwise
you're arguing nothing at all).  That's a bogus argument and nobody is
convinced by it, not the first time it was made or the twentieth.
The existance or lack of "official statements" are completely irrelevant
to the discussion.

> www.debian.org tells me why mplayer can't be packaged - where does it 
> tell me what Debian calls "software"?

The Social Contract #1 [1] says:

"Debian will remain 100% free

We provide the guidelines that we use to determine if a work is "free"
in the document entitled "The Debian Free Software Guidelines"."

This makes it extremely clear that, as far as the Social Contract is
concerned, everything in Debian is software, covered by the DFSG.  This
is a discussion that's done and complete, settled by GR2004-003, and
I'm not interested in rehashing those discussions yet again.

(It's disappointing that on one hand, we have people insisting that
every decision should go through a complete GR to involve the whole
Project and refuse to accept any amount of consensus otherwise; while
on the other hand, the few issues--such as this one--that actually do
go through a GR and are firmly decided *still* come under debate again
and again.)

> The only hit for
>   site:www.debian.org "license texts"
> brings me to a debian-legal discussion where your new DPL suggests that 
> the GFDL should be considered DFSG-free and invariant sections of up to 
> 5% should be considered DFSG-free.
> It seems the opinions in Debian about the GFDL have changed during the 
> last four years...

Years?  In http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/12/msg00245.html [2],
less than one month later, Branden's final proposal no longer suggests that,
but instead that the only invariant texts that should be allowed are license

It's a very normal and useful pattern to Debian figuring out hard problems:
some ideas are tossed out (such as the one you reference above[1]), people
debate them for a while, and opinions change, becoming better formed and
more strongly grounded as a result of debate.

[1] referring to the current "on hold" SC, per GR 2004-003:


[2] The link on the DWN page is wrong; a currently accurate one is
or Message-id: <20011125214858.C20127@deadbeast.net>.

[3] Message-id: <20011212065621.GB5211@deadbeast.net>

Glenn Maynard

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