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Re: forwarded message from Jeff Licquia

On Wed, Jul 17, 2002 at 09:55:42PM +0100, Timothy Murphy wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 16, 2002 at 09:35:23PM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > Sadly, you seem to have missed the point of Free Software altogether,
> > which can be stated simply as: preventing anyone from having exclusive
> > control of the software so that everyone can benefit.  

> (3) Debian does not have a monopoly of the word "free".
> I suggest that if you do not want to be offensive
> you should say "Debian-free" or "free in the Debian sense".

Given that the term Free Software was coined by Richard Stallman, you
can use his definition if you like:

Or you can use the DFSG, if that better meets your needs.

I never claimed to have a monopoly on the word "free".  I used the term
"Free Software", which is much more specific and has a specific meaning
to the community in which the term originated.  To claim that my
viewpoint is Debian-specific would be facile.

> (4) There is no need for Debian or anyone else to modify the LaTeX kernel,
> since you can make any changes you want in a package (.sty file).
> So the whole discussion seems to me entirely theological.

Consider it theological if you will; the fact remains that eligibility
for inclusion in Debian is determined by a set of principles that are
embodied in the DFSG.  That this discussion is being entertained at all
surely indicates that at least someone with a say in the matter believes
freeness -- or at least widespread distribution -- is important to

> (5) You speak a lot about Linux,
> but your approach seems to me far from that promoted by Linus Torvalds.
> In fact Torvalds and Knuth seem to me very similar in their viewpoints,
> as perhaps one might expect.

Linux is licensed under the GPL, which alone speaks volumes; and, as has
already been pointed out, Linus is not the only one who has a say in the
fate of that kernel: he's not even the only one who releases kernels.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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