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Re: discussion with the FSF: GPLv3, GFDL, Nexenta

On Mon, Jun 04, 2007 at 07:30:36PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> Obviously (I hope), I don't consider you to be inexperienced in free
> software development, [...]

To expand on that a bit more: IMHO, Debian is fundamentally about what its
contributors want -- we're focussed on doing right by our users and the
free software community, but ultimately, as far as Debian's concerned,
the first and foremost representatives of both those groups are the
users and free software community members who actually make Debian work.

The opinions that matters are the ones belonging to people who're actually
building Debian; and ultimately legal expertise is kind-of irrelevant
to that.  Microsoft might have some of the world's best experts on
understanding IP law and the effects of the GPL, but as far as Debian's
concerned, the newest of new-maintainers and the least contributors
to Debian should have infinitely more say in what's sufficiently free
for Debian.

The point where legal expertise comes in is in understanding the
consequences of legal texts -- this clause will prevent development in
such-n-such a circumstance, or that clause will prevent distribution
under some other conditions; not in deciding whether those circumstances
or conditions are enough of a concern to actually make something non-free.

Confident statements from non-developers on what is and isn't free enough
isn't incredibly good at the best of times, and is actively harmful when
it's got a history of not matching the way Debian actually works. And
when analysis of licenses tends to amount to not much more than "we've
discussed this issue already, it's not free" there's not much point to
the debate at all, afaics.

But if no one on -legal sees what I'm trying to get at by now, I guess
there's not much point to this debate either.


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