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Re: REVISED PROPOSAL regarding DFSG 3 and 4, licenses, and modifiable text

On Sat, Dec 01, 2001 at 07:05:10PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> I thought there was general agreement that a proportional limit was
> better than a simple number.

Maybe this is how you feel, but I so far haven't seen general agreement
on anything.  Especially now that Anthony Towns has spoken up and
characterized the entire proposal as a waste of time.

> One disadvantage to a simple per-package limit is that you can defeat
> it by splitting something up into more packages.

That would be difficult under the GNU FDL, where you are required to
reproduce all Invariant Sections with any proportion, great or small, of
the licensed work.

In other words, if the total amount if Invariant text in a GNU
FDL-licensed work totals 48k, I can't put 24k of that in one package and
24k of it in another, because the GNU FDL won't let me.  All the
invarient text has to go in both packages.

> A proportional limit seems more sensible to me.

It doesn't to me.  I don't find a megabyte of invariant text acceptable,
whether the total work is 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, or even 20 megabytes.  Beyond
that we're getting into highly unusual territory for Debian packages in

> Also, I think it should be a condition of any proposal that it
> recognizes the presumptive validity of our past practice--or, it
> explicitly say "this proposal is intended to refer to new software,
> not to things already in the archive".

That is not the intent of my proposal.

> If it doesn't have a grandfather clause, then the alternative is to go
> through all known-to-be-affected packages and make sure they meet the
> test.

The only problematic package I know of is (possibly) the GNU Emacs
Manual.  In addition to the GNU manuals already identified as not being
affected, the GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual does not appear to be
adversely affected by my proposal.  Its only Invariant Sections are
copies of the GNU GPL and GNU FDL.  Its Cover Texts are also vanishingly
small, though I have not worked out how miscible GNU FDL Cover Texts are
with the DFSG in full generality yet.  At first blush they seem to be
roughly the same thing as the old BSD advertising clause, and would thus
be handled under clause 3) of my proposal.

G. Branden Robinson                |       Psychology is really biology.
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       Biology is really chemistry.
branden@debian.org                 |       Chemistry is really physics.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |       Physics is really math.

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