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

On Thu, Dec 06, 2001 at 01:56:23AM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 06, 2001 at 02:52:47PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > On Mon, Dec 03, 2001 at 11:01:49PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > > For instance:
> > > Message-ID: <[🔎] 20011202075756.GD26052@deadbeast.net>
> > > ">       * It's unjustified. Why 32,768 bytes? Why not 32,000 bytes?
> > > You want 32,000 instead?  You've got it."
> > Which, you'll notice didn't answer the question, nor did it remotely
> > address the issue by providing any justification.
> 	The size of the GNU GPL and the "Funding Free Software" portion
> 	of the gcc manual together in plain-text form is 20,410 bytes.
> 	This is *without* regarding all adjacent white space characters
> 	as one byte, and without excluding the portion of the GPL that
> 	is actually a binding license.  Once that is done (condensing
> 	whitespace and omitting the "TERMS AND CONDITIONS" part of the
> 	GNU GPL, which are already covered by clause 2 above), this
> 	auxiliary material consumes only 7,928 bytes.  Therefore, 32,768
> 	bytes strikes me as a reasonable limit.
> This of course, assumes that it's reasonable to use packages that
> actually exist and contain non-license invariant text to inform one's
> proposals.  Given your preference for ex nihilo reasoning, that
> assumption may not do anything for you.

Uh. I'm a little lost.

Your argument seems to be:

	* There's 20k bytes of invariant text in the GCC manual.
	* There's roughly 8k bytes of invariant text in the units this
	  proposal uses in the GCC manual.
	* Therefore, 32,768 bytes is a reasonable limit.

Now, I could understand going from 7,928 bytes to 8,000 bytes; or to
10,000 bytes, or, if you have to appease your power of two fascination,
I could perhaps understand 8,192 bytes or 10,240 bytes. But 32,768 bytes
just appears to have been pulled from the air completely.

I'm not sure why you think I have a preference for ex nihilo reasoning
considering I generally cite lots of statistics whenever I'm arguing for
anything. But whatever.

You should also note that there are a number of non-binding clauses in the
GPL itself: ``You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a
copy'' for example. If it's enough of a nuisance that you didn't bother
looking for them, why do you think it'd be any less of a nuisance for
ftpmaster or -legal to want to count them character by character?

Again, the things wrong with your proposal are:

	* a byte limit is not helpful at best, and more likely actively

	* considering non-binding text from the license separately
	  to binding text in the license is unnecessary and overly

You're making this far more complicated and pedantic than is helpful
to anyone. Far simpler and easier to understand to say something
like "The program's license (the debian/copyright file) need not
be modifiable. Small amounts (generally a few hundred to a thousand
words) of non-modifiable text (eg, the GNU Manifesto) may be included
in the package -- however this is discouraged, and does not apply to
documentation that may need to be modified when the program is changed".

The former simply documents current practice, the latter is the minimal
change necessary to match the DFSG against the current status-quo with
free documentation. If you're really obsessed with the power of two byte
count, you might want to change the size estimate to one of those.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

 "Security here. Yes, maam. Yes. Groucho glasses. Yes, we're on it.
   C'mon, guys. Somebody gave an aardvark a nose-cut: somebody who
    can't deal with deconstructionist humor. Code Blue."
		-- Mike Hoye,
		      see http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/armadillos.txt

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