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Re: could you safely rewrite the DFSG requirement?

Sven <luther@dpt-info.u-strasbg.fr> writes:

> do you also consider :
> 10 REM
> as a piece of software ?

Who cares?

The current DFSG requires that a license permit free distribution of
the work when in an aggregation.  As long as O'Reilly understands that
"aggregation" includes even "trivial" aggregations of a single page,
designed purely to allow for the publication for profit (when it would
otherwise be prohibited), then I'm happy.

I would rather the DFSG be changed to remove all this "aggregation"
requirement.  Until then, you can't rely on the freeness of individual
Debian components; if you want to distribute them freely, you might
have to add something to them.  But as long as adding a single page of
text counts as "something", I'm happy.

> Sure, but it is not an empty content one liner. it is the first program
> written by manny programmers, it is the introduction to kernigan & ritchies C
> book, and as thus has apart from its meaning a historical as well as mythical
> meaning.

Exactly.  So why are you talking about "empty content one liners"?

> Yes, but this is not a clear interpetation of the DFSG, and i only recently
> discovered, trough the foldoc software entry, that people could consider
> printed book as software, which is contrary to what my first thinking on this
> subject yielded.

So, have you progressed to a second or third thinking, or are we still
dealing with your original misconception?

The DFSG applies no matter what medium a thing is distributed in.
Paper, CD, little pieces of paper taped to the legs of a carrier
pidgeons--all the same.

> Mmm, my first thought when i read the oreilly licence was that iut
> had to go into non free, then i read the polemic about the
> aggregation stuff, and looked at the DFSG, and thought, ok it is far
> stretched, but it may seem that it can be interpreted as such. Then
> came the proposition of the empty content one liner, and that is
> something i feel is bad.

What "proposition of the empty content one liner"?  I think you have
somehow been arguing about something that really is not an issue at

The license (as quoted so far) is not DFSG free (at all) because it
requires that the entire aggregation be itself free--it only allows
distribution as part of a free aggregation, and that's not an
allowable restriction.  The rule of thumb for that point is "could Sun
put it on a Sun OS CD?"  

Assuming they fix that, we should be sure they actually allow
"aggregation" in our sense--which is precisely that there is *no*
requirement that what is added to make the aggregation be significant,
meaningful, important, substantial, or whatever else, but that even a
page of pointless drivel will do.

Some people have suggested that the "null aggregation" should be
considered an aggregation, and maybe it should, but I find that to be
a relatively uninteresting argument.

> My point is that the DFSG is not clear on the subject of documentation, and
> particularly printed version thereof. It need to either be ammended, as you
> say, or extended by a DFDG speaking porecisely about documentation.

The DSFG applies no matter what the medium, printed, bits on the wire,
paper on the pidgeon.  Already--no clarification necessary.

People generally seem happy with the idea that the DFSG applies
directly to documentation, mutatis mutandis, exactly as it does to

> The response to it from this list, which in my understanding is the place to
> discuss legal things like thge DFSG, but apparently i am wrong, was of the
> 'you are wrong, please go away" kind.

Huh?  It's the place to discuss legal things like the DFSG, but not
the place to discuss proposed changes to the DFSG.  It is the place to
discuss how the DFSG may be applied and what it means.

> > I want them to explicitly acknowledge that such an addition--even if
> > only one page--is enough to trigger the "aggregate" clause.
> but the polemic is around an empty content one liner, not a only one page
> document.

What is an "empty content one liner"?  How did that "polemic" get
involved?  Who cares?  Since we can add a real content one liner as
easily as an empty content one--"even just a single page of drivel" is
not empty of content--who cares about the abstract question of "empty
content one liners"?  

(I have no idea what an "empty content one liner" is.  Your sample
line "10 REM" is not empty either, but has a little teeny bit of

> Here you take the interpretation that software includes printed versions
> of books, and not only their electronic version. This is contrary to common
> usage, and needs clarification.

Here's the requested clarification:

The DFSG applies no matter what medium or technology is used to
distribute the Debian component.  It is not restricted to "electronic"
distribution, as if books were somehow radically different from CDs,
bits on a wire, or pieces of paper taped to carrier pidgeons.

> That said, the problem remains, we keep relying on something unclear and
> subject to interpretations instead of sayign things clearly.

Then please--suggest a concrete clarification!  Damn it, you piss me
off.  You're a Debian developer, if you want it improved, then suggest
an improvement instead of constantly nattering about how some vague
other group of people should do it.  If you are not content with what
it says now, then propose an alteration.  (And, again, this is not the
forum for doing so; that belongs elsewhere.)

> Err, everyone on debian-legal who read this thread, or more probably only
> those who carred enough to reply, what are those compared to 500+ debian
> developpers, or to all those which read the DFSG to see what is considered
> free software.

Which is exactly why proposed modifications to the DFSG do not belong
on debian-legal.

> Either you speak about aggregation, in the intention of meaning it
> as a true aggregation, or you don't, and in this case, why not
> simply state that a book or other free documentation must be
> printable and distributable alone, and not go into obscure
> interpretations of what an aggregation means ?

Why do you say "you" instead of "we"?  Aren't you a Debian Developer?
Do you have a concrete suggestion about how to change the DFSG?  Can
you please bring that up in the proper forum, and not here?

> As i see DFSG 1, we require that it is possible to distribute the software as
> part of the debian archive, debian CDs or such. 

And that Sun be permitted to put it on their CDs.  And that anyone be
permitted to print it out and distribute it that way.  And that people
be able to pull it apart and put it back together into a distribution
of their own.

> Ok, i know you don't want me here anymore, but i guess this thread has made
> things more clear to me.

Who said that?  You're annoying, but I've never said to go away.
Discussion of proposed modifications of the DFSG belong elsewhere, but
all the rest belongs here.


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