[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Licenses for non-software works, and the definition of software, and , the new DFSG


In response to an issue on -legal, I am reopening the debate on how free
those parts of debian which are not software (or not precisely software)
should be.

IMO, this debate should be conducted on -policy, and I ask all replies to
this message to trim the CC: line.

This issue was discussed in length on policy last year.

One such thread is

'Free Software Needs Free Documentation', which begins at


Another thread 'Start for a discussion about free documentation in Debian'
begins with


Four or five other threads follow - please use the list-archives browser
if you have a web browser capable of it.

Being biased, I like the summary I gave in


*Please*, if you have strong views on this subject, at least skim the
above threads, and those which follow on related issues, before entering
the debate. It was very drawn out last time.  It is an important issue,
and I don't think we should vote on a new DFSG which doesn't address it. 

Allow me to summarise some points of fact and some points of view:

1) Technical documentation should be 'free' in the GPL sense.
  This was widely held by all participants in the debate.

2) 'Artistic works' need not be free.
  This suggested to us the creation of a new section in debian,
'verbatim', in which works in certain classes could be distributed.
The line between documentation and 'works of art' may not be clear,
and there may be a mixture in one document.

3) Licenses are generally not free
  This is more or less a fact, actually.  The GPL does not give the
permission to modify, notwithstanding the fact that some other licenses
are very clearly derived works.

4) Some good, 'free' software has non-free documentation
  This poses a dilemma for our principles.

Our conclusions, IMO, should be included either in the new DFSG, if we
accept it, or incorporated into the current, if not.


..putting on flame suit...

|  Jelibean aka  | jules@jellybean.co.uk         |  6 Evelyn Rd	       |
|  Jules aka     | jules@debian.org              |  Richmond, Surrey   |
|  Julian Bean   | jmlb2@hermes.cam.ac.uk        |  TW9 2TF *UK*       |
|  War doesn't demonstrate who's right... just who's left.             |
|  When privacy is outlawed... only the outlaws have privacy.          |

Reply to: