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Re: Final Draft: Interpretive Guideline regarding DFSG clause 3

On Thu, Dec 13, 2001 at 01:39:25PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 13, 2001 at 07:19:58PM +0100, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> > On Wed, Dec 12, 2001 at 04:31:30PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > > That I do not support grandfathering efforts on these manuals doesn't
> > > mean I'll fight them, either.  At the moment, I don't feel motivated to
> > > participate in such a discussion at all.
> > 
> > I think the fact that your proposal entirely excludes this important
> > question is a good reason to stall it and look for a better, more
> > integrative solution.
> Is it your contention that the DFSG as written DOES include this
> "important question"?  What part of DFSG 3 says that Debian doesn't
> require permission to modify copyright notices and license texts?

The whole idea that it would say anything about it is ridiculous.  The DFSG
was not written or intended to be an automated mechanism which you apply to
a software and you get "yes" or "no" as output.  The idea that
clause 3 has anything to say about the status of copyright notices or
licenses shows how detached some people appear to be.  It's completely
up-side down:  As if the DFSG says anything about what Debian should require or
what not.  It's the other way round:  The DFSG is a declaration of what Debian
requires about software.  If you now detach the DFSG and try to read it
without the Debian people behind it, and force the interpretation back to
Debian, you indeed get absurd results.

It is my contention that your proposal has anything interesting to say at
all.  The first part of each points does say nothing that isn't uniliterally
agreed upon anyway since ever (otherwise copyrighted free software couldn't
exist), and the second half solves a problem we don't have (it's not common
for a software to include irrelevant invariant copyright notices or license
texts).  There are a lot of words in your proposal, but nothing that helps
us to address the real world problems we indeed have to solve.

In this context, the only interesting thing we need to discuss is: what do
we do about non-technical, invariant sections that are not copyright notices
or license texts that apply to the work.  Your proposal started out with an
attempt to address this issue, and was now narrowed down to a proposal that
includes almost nothing at all.  So I guess it is back to square one.


`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' Debian http://www.debian.org brinkmd@debian.org
Marcus Brinkmann              GNU    http://www.gnu.org    marcus@gnu.org

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