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Re: could you safely rewrite the DFSG requirement?

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

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

The "spirit" of it?  The "spirit" of it?  Puhleez.

The DFSG's spirit is given by the customary interpretations on
debian-legal and the history of how it has been used.  Not by you
insisting, first, that we must be very literal, and then, when it
turns out the very literal meaning isn't what you want, insisting that
instead we shouldn't be so literal.

The actual "spirit" of the requirement is to pretty much ignore the
aggregation qualification entirely.  You didn't like that, so I showed
how taking the qualification literally amounts to very close to the
same thing.

> 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 ?

Nope.  I don't have any interest in fighting that battle, but if you
do, then you should probably start doing the research.

> 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.

As I've said since the beginning of this tedious thread, if you want
to know the history, you'll have to stop guessing and ask the people

> 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 ?

No.  A dedication (even to a dog) is not "empty content".  It might be
.00000001 units of content, but it's not empty.

> 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 requirement is not a requirement *on us*.  We don't have some kind
of promise to incorporate anything into Debian that meets someone
else's understanding of the DFSG.  It's not dishonest to say "we
insist that you allow X before it can be part of Debian".

> 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 ?

Well, you'll have to head off to the other tedious thread about the
GNU FDL for that one.  

> 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.

Me?  This is all about me?  Maybe if there were a crowd of other
people saying "yeah, Sven is right".  But there just ain't.  This is
the *historic* and *accepted* and *generally applied* interpretation
of the clause.  I'm sorry if you don't like that fact, but it is a

> > 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.

Another rule of thumb is "could Sun print it in their manual set".  


> 1. You interpret it as if there were no aggregation allowed. Why not then,
> remove this aggregation stuff from the DFSG.

Indeed, why not?  But I don't have the power to do so.  If you want it
removed, then geez, say so, and make a concrete proposal in the proper

> I can only see few reasons for it :
> 1) you don't have time to devote to it.

I don't care much about 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.

So I must continually put all my opinions to a vote because one
nattering twit insists I'm wrong?

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

I don't know of any.  Do you?

> > 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.

I don't know if the null aggregation is enough or not, but *I DON'T
CARE*, because I'm sure that a tiny aggregation *is* enough, and
that's really quite good enough for all practical purposes.

> it applies to an aggregate software distribution.

Completely independent of whether that distribution takes place in
printed form, or CDs.

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

Then *you do it*.  I'm quite content with the status quo.

> drivel is not content.

Your posts on this thread have been mostly drivel.  And yet, filled
with content.  

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

That has content.  Very little, but not none.

> 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.

Why is it my job to "add a line"?  Do you think I have any power to
amend the DFSG?  Geez!  Pay attention!  If you want to propose an
amendment, then do so, in the proper place, following the proper

> 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.

So it's my job to propose an amendment I think is unnecessary, because
one nattering twit on debian-legal thinks it's necessary?

> 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.

I don't know if there are any packages that would be affected.  But I
certainly am happy to confine the flamewar to two people on
debian-legal rather than expanding it.  That's one reason I'm content
with the status quo.

Would you vote for such an amendment?  

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

FUD.  *As it is written* it requires that even teeny tiny aggregations
count.  It's only when you start looking to the "spirit" that you get
your view.  And even then, you read the spirit wrong.

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

Who said it did?

> > permitted to print it out and distribute it that way.  And that people
> No, this is not written in the DFSG.

Printed distribution is just as much distribution as distribution as
bits on a wire or CDs.


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