The old DFSG-lemma again...
As I warned, I have been absent. (I dropped my computer in a marble
staircase. It worked for a while, but now it was long since it booted.)
My internet access is sporadic.
I've been thinking a lot on this problem, and I'm less sure that I'm
right than I originally was.
Branden has, I suspect, two very good reasons why we should stick to the
DFSG and apply it for everything. 1) It's what we have written at
present, it's what our policy states at present, and the social contract
can be interpreted to state something to that extent as well. 2) The DFSG
is about freedom and freedom is generally a good thing. We can very well
stick non-free examples and data files into non-free.
However; this issue has to be discussed because of the following reasons,
at least one of which are important:
1) The GPL license text itself doesn't pass the DFSG. Yes, this is
absurd. Yes, some people say that Debian needs to be able to distribute
GPL:ed software (for which distributing the GPL itself is a
prerequisite), and I agree. Accordingly; there needs to be an amendment
or clarification of what Debian can distribute, or what "Debian will
remain 100% free software" means. No, please don't flame me (I can dish
it out, but I can't take it!) for this, saying that "Of course Debian can
distribute the GPL". Where does it say, officially?
2) The GNU FDL doesn't pass the DFSG. This is a minor issue; FDL-stamped
documentation can reside safely in non-free. (But that's weird. And they
aren't there now. So we're obviously doing something wrong.)
3) Images and logos and icons doesn't always pass the DFSG. We can draw
free replacements for them, sure, so this isn't a big issue either, but
it sure is a hassle.
To recap/clarify my previous position on this:
I suggested that Debian should have Free Art/Information Guidelines, that
allowed us distribute things that aren't really computer programs with a
minimum of hassle. These would go like: "Freedom to redistribute in any
format, with or without a fee. Freedom to translate." Etc etc. Make up
your own. Freedoms you feel we need to have. (If these guidelines should
be too harsh, we can always stick the other stuff in non-free, so don't
Now... I don't know if we need this, but we need to do something. Perhaps
I should go reread the constitiution, I don't really know how Debian
decides things like this, but we have a problem at our hands that is
There's basically two ways: We remove everything that doesn't pass the
DFSG (including the kernels), or - we acknowledge in some official Debian-
paper (I don't remember how these things work) that Debian may distribute
non-functional software, like license text, that doesn't pass the DFSG.
Branden mentioned talking to RMS about this - as long as we're asking
around, might I suggest that we talk to Bruce Perens? He wrote the DFSG,
Briling Fenderson (Oh, and I just finished reading "Days of War, Nights
of Love" and I feel kind of bad sitting here discussing and nitpicking
over legal details, but I'm a geek. So sue me. :) Oh, as well as I'm
stirring up old wounds - did anyone think that the "split non-US" idea
was a good one? Or a bad one?)
GNU slash Linux is still less syllables that Windows two thousand. - RMS
(I guess that's why they made XP.)