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Re: How about a new section "[partially free]"?

On Sun, Dec 02, 2001 at 10:19:55AM +0100, Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller wrote:
> As I understand it, a package that makes it into [main] complies 
> to all points of the DFSG. However, your proposal will allow 
> packages that don't fully comply the DFSG to enter [main], if 
> the violation is not too grave. I consider this inconsistent.

Well, depends on what you mean by "comply".  Under what I understand to
be your interpretation of "comply", everything licensed under the GPL or
LGPL would have to be removed from main because the text of these
licensed is copyrighted and licensed under terms that forbid
modification.  I agree that this violates an iron-fisted interpretation
of DFSG 3.  However, the DFSG and Social Contract were passed when many,
many GPL'ed packages were already part of Debian, and as far as I know,
few people have ever proposed that GPL'ed software be removed from
Debian.  This isn't to say that non-modifiable text isn't solely a
problem of the FSF's -- the BSD licenses are also affected, and, in a
sense, anything with a copyright notice is as well.  Interpret DFSG 3
*THAT* strictly and there wouldn't be much left *in* Debian.  Just
public domain materials.  We may as well just fold up shop and quit if
that's the case.

Since I'm betting that the Debian Project is not going to make this
decision (though Thomas Bushnell and Anthony Towns may wish to disagree
with me on this point :) ), it is apparent that we either need to:
1) amend the DFSG to say what we really mean;
2) author another document to say what we really mean.

1) is not practical at the moment.  (Read the list archives of
debian-vote for the year 2000 to undertand why.)

Therefore, my proposal attempts to do 2 things:

1) describe the status quo, and what (minor) exceptions to a very strict
reading of the DFSG we actually accept
2) anticipate some future developments in licensing, particularly that
of documentation, and attempt to set a standard by which "reasonable"
documentation is permitted into the project but "unreasonable"
documentation is not.

> So, as there are cases that fail the DFSG, but which are also 
> too valuable to be put into [non-free], why should they not get 
> a seperate, new category?

I don't think this follows, for the reasons described above.

G. Branden Robinson                |    Somebody once asked me if I thought
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    sex was dirty.  I said, "It is if
branden@debian.org                 |    you're doing it right."
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Woody Allen

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