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Re: The old DFSG-lemma again...



On Thu, Nov 08, 2001 at 12:24:17AM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Ok, I think I understand your position better no.  It's not that you
> object to such nonmodifiable parts, but you think it will be hard to
> give a bright-line test to see whether it's an objectionable case or
> not.  (And we all certainly agree that there are some objectionable
> cases.)

Yes, that is essentially the position I'm arguing qua Debian Developer.

Now, I have my own opinions about how liberal our culture should be with
respect to copying, modification, and distribution of creative works,
but I am endeavoring not to let those opinions color my stance unduly.
Likewise, most of us (including RMS) have political opinions that are
almost completely orthogonal to Free Software, but we try to set those
aside when speaking or working as an apparatus of our organziations or
communities, because we want that community to thrive even if all its
members didn't vote for the same guy for President (as if that has any
effect on the outcome, heh) or do not feel the same way about abortion
rights.

> The important thing is whether documentation can be modified; the
> presence of other bits (even in the same manual) isn't an obstacle.  I
> think this can be spelled out in a guideline that is perfectly
> satisfactory.

I haven't proposed amending the DFSG; I have proposed adopting some
guidelines for interpreting it when it comes to works and licenses that
have to do with things other than software, in much the same way that
American courts are forced to interpret the Bill of Rights.

> Like all of the DFSG, it would require some discretion and practice to
> get right, and like the DFSG, there isn't any way to spell it out that
> would guarantee no such flame wars.

You're exaggerating my goal.  I would be deluded indeed if I thought I
could pre-emptively snuff any future flamewars on this subject.  What I
am trying to do is have a bright-line test (thanks for nailing down the
term for me) in place that will reduce their quantity and ferocity, and
I think it is possible to do so.  In my nearly 4 years as a Debian
Developer and 6 as a Debian user, I do have the experience to discern a
positive correlation between ambiguous points and flamewars.  I can cite
examples if you're interested.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |    I must despise the world which does
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    not know that music is a higher
branden@debian.org                 |    revelation than all wisdom and
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    philosophy. -- Ludwig van Beethoven

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