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Re: could you safely rewrite the DFSG requirement?

On Tue, Feb 12, 2002 at 09:36:11AM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> 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.

Well, this may well fgollow the letter of what is written, but in no way the
spirit of it.

> I would rather the DFSG be changed to remove all this "aggregation"

Yes, that would be better.

That said, do you have an idea of what would be the implications of the
removal of this aggregation stuff, what packages may cause a problem if it is
removed ?

I still don't know why it was added in the first placve, but there must have
been a reason for it, and even if it is 'historical' there may still be
packages concerned by it. And maybe it was not because of a misconception like
you think, but more of the compromise stuff.

> 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"?

Because those were the ones suggested on this thread.

mail from Walter Landry on Fri, 25 Jan 2002 17:39:27 -0800 :

 Well, what about a hardcopy of the O'Reilly book plus a one-sentence
 dedication to my dog?  To be more realistic, how about the statement        

Is that not an empty content one liner ?

> > 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?

I still think that adding trivial stuff to an aggrgation is a dishnoest way of
bipassing the aggregation requirement, following the DFSG to the letter,
depending on interpretation of it, but not to the spirit of it.

> 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.

Why does it speak about software then ? Well, i know why it speaks about
software, but where does it clarifies that things not software apply also ?

Not that it also speaks about an aggregate software distribution, which don't
include printed books, or else we don't speak the same english.

> > 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
> all.  

I am arguing that what you are trying to do is be dishonest and work around a
part of the DFSG, which as written is not convenient to you, instead of
changing the text of the DFSG to say what it directly.

> 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?"  

Mmm, yes, it can, no problem with that, the restriction is only for printed
books, not CDs.

And that is an important thing here.

So either the rule of thumb is not good in this case, or it is DFSG free by
the above rule of thumb.

> 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.

Again, you completely negate the strength of the aggregation part of guideline
1. You interpret it as if there were no aggregation allowed. Why not then,
remove this aggregation stuff from the DFSG.

I can only see few reasons for it :

1) you don't have time to devote to it.

2) you are afraid your views will not be shared by your fellow debian
developpers  and that the resolution or whatever  will not pass, as was the
case of the non-free issue.

3) there are packages (maybe even important ones) which will have to be
removed from the archive if we remove the aggregation clause.

> 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.

Not, it is the main point here. 

If you consider the null aggregation enough, then way not say it explicitely.

> > 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.

it applies to an aggregate software distribution.

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

Yes, but it is not written as such. And about people that seem happy with it,
most probably, they either don't know or don't care.

> > 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.

Mmm, it should be taken to debian-vote then ?
And anyway, are we not speaking about the second issue here ?

> > > 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"?  

drivel is not content.

> (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
> content.) 

i did not said empty, but empty content, which is not the same.

the mail that started this was about a one line dedication to a dog.

> > 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.

Ok, please add also a line about that documentation is considered as software,
and i will be happy with it. This don't solve the asggregation clause though.

Then it only needs to be ratified by a large enough majority olf debian
developpers, and the issue will be solved.

> > 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.)

I said it before, i have no time for it now, i have to finish my phd thesis
for very soon. As soon as i have time for it i may suggest it.

That said, i fear the huge flamewar that will result from such a change, as
well as the many unwanted results it may have, both as we have to purge
packages not compliant to the new DFSG and the publicity it will engender.

The real problem is that people on debian-legal are judging as if the DFSG
is written as they want, not as it is.

> > 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.

But why then does debian-legal have the final word on what is considered DFSG
free ?

> > 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?

Because i am speaking to you, i should have written we here, altough since i
don't agree with you i am not sure i should include myself here.

Also, i am no native english speaker, and some subtleties get lost on me, so
please don't be so hard on such things (or else we could continue speaking in
french, if you want).

This is also a reasdon for me not being the best person to propose a change to
the DFSG.

> > 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

Yes, ...

> permitted to print it out and distribute it that way.  And that people

No, this is not written in the DFSG.

> be able to pull it apart and put it back together into a distribution
> of their own.

Yes, ...

> > 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.

but your tone strongly hint at that, ...

> Discussion of proposed modifications of the DFSG belong elsewhere, but
> all the rest belongs here.

Then were ?


Sven Luther

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