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Re: O: gnu-standards -- GNU coding standards



Moved to -legal. (Like you couldn't already tell)

On Tue, Apr 09, 2002 at 01:36:15AM -0500, Jeff Licquia wrote:
> > And I'm sorry, but that's
> > quite debatable. It's quite a valid interpretation of "software" to be the
> > "stuff" that's implied by all the one's and zero's in memory however those
> > one's and zero's might be represented, as opposed to "hardware" which
> > actually has a physical existance. In that case anything stored in a .deb
> > is software, compared to, say, a book, which is fairly primitive hardware.
> It's certainly debatable; the thread alone should be evidence enough of
> that.
> I don't find such arguments very interesting, though.  It's certainly
> easy to "solve" a problem by shifting the definitions around, 

I'm sorry, but the above isn't bending the definitions at all. Software
is a broader term than program. You don't get to claim the terms work
the way you use them and then think that ends everything.

> bending a
> few until they match.  I could try to "unbend" them by asking what the
> practical difference there is between printed and electronic versions of
> books, 

Uh, you can't find a practical difference between a printed book, and a CD
with the contents of that book encoded on it? Really? One fairly obvious
one is that you need a computer (some hardware) to make any use of the
latter, while you can read the former quite happily without a computer.

> Except that most of the crypto technology you used to find on Italian
> and Dutch FTP servers was either code from the USA or (rather poorly)
> algorithms from the USA.  The really big example: PGP.

Which was, as far as the regulations were concerned, reimplemented from
a text book outside the US, not exported.

> > A question you could reasonably ask is "is it useful to have all the same
> > freedoms for documentation that we expect for programs?" And really, it
> > _is_ useful. Being able to cut out all the irrelevant bits of a document
> > and distribute an abbreviated version you can store on your PDA, or being
> > able to translate it, or being able to change it to match the changes in
> > your program, or being able to correct it on factual errors, or being
> > able to rip out bits of opinion which aren't interesting or useful to
> > you or the people to whom you want to make copies are all reasonable
> > and productive things to do.
> I'm not sure that usefulness is a good criteria, however, for modeling
> what we believe.  

What would you propose instead? What "feels" good? What various luminaries
want?

Usefulness is a very effective justification for our current requirements.

Freedom's not a bad one, although it doesn't indicate why we make the
concessions we do (like allowing upstream to require us to use different
names, or patch files).

> For example, it would have been exceedingly useful a
> few years ago to link GPLed KDE to non-free Qt, but we didn't do it
> then.

Actually, we did do this until we realised it wasn't actually legal
according to the licenses. This was nothing to do with the DFSG.

Cheers,
aj

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

     ``BAM! Science triumphs again!'' 
                    -- http://www.angryflower.com/vegeta.gif

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