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Re: FSF free software definition >-< DFSG

On Wed, Apr 07, 1999 at 01:52:59PM -0400, Andrew Pimlott wrote:
> I just saw the item on slashdot.org that the Free Software foundation has
> updated its definition of free software
> (http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/free-sw.html).  The changes seem to have
> come out of RMS's recent essay (which I swear I read on-line, but I can't
> find for the life of me) that appeared in "Open Sources".  I don't have a
> diff, but the new document is generally excellent and contains some 
> called-for clarifications.
> Reading it, two trends occured to me:  The FSF is making its free software
> definition more precise; and many Debian members want to make the Debian
> Free Software Guidelines (and the proposed revisions) less complicated.  I
> think we should take a cue from this and consider unifying the two. 
> I understand that this defies the conventional wisdom that there should be
> one statement that conveys the spirit of free software (the FSF's), and
> another that defines in specific terms what is free software (the DFSG). 
> But read RMS's definition carefully--it's actually quite precise.  With a
> few annotations, I believe it would do everything the DFSG (including
> proposed revisions) seeks to do.  And you can't deny that it reads better
> than the DFSG. 
I like that document very much.  However, I think Debian needs something a
little more explicit to use to base decisions on what goes into main.
For example, would button-ware (like the (old?) Zope license) be Free
Software?  It requires all web pages have a (something like) "created by
zope" button for the pages it creates.  DFSG says (or will say) no but I
didn't see it clearly denied in the GNU paper.

> At any rate, I believe that efforts to simplify the DFSG should draw 
> inspiration from the updated FSF definition.

Please cc all mailing list replies to me, also.
* http://benham.net/index.html        <gecko@benham.net>           <><  *
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