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Re: Knuth statement on renaming cm files and Licence violation.

On Sep 04, Russ Allbery wrote:
> I don't find your argument particularly persuasive; it seems to be very
> strong on emotion without a lot of logic to back it up, or without any
> real discussion of what you're trying to defend and why.

The Debian Project has a philosophical commitment to protecting the
freedoms of the users of software that it calls "free".  These
freedoms are spelled out in the Debian Social Contract and Debian Free
Software Guidelines.

You can argue whether the freedom to rename some particular file is
important or not, but that's largely beside the point as far as Debian
is concerned; it is possible for reasonable people to disagree about
the relative importance of that (or any other) freedom.  However, we
believe that irrespective of whether we intend to exercise the
particular rights in question, possessing them (and, more importantly,
ensuring our users possess them) is important.

For example, the DFSG has a paragraph about non-discrimination.
Debian has no intention of setting up a nuclear power plant, but a
license that restricts people who own nuclear power plants from using
our software [licenses like this do, in fact, exist] is unacceptable.
Similarly, Debian has no intention of violating Prof. Knuth's request
that the Computer Modern fonts not be replaced without renaming them,
yet we are unwilling to call them "free" unless our end users have the
freedom to do so.  (Leave aside whether Prof. Knuth's request is
legally binding; his statement that the fonts are "in the public
domain" suggests that no request of his regarding the fonts is legally
binding, although his wishes should not be lightly disregarded.)

Chris Lawrence <cnlawren@phy.olemiss.edu> - http://www.lordsutch.com/chris/

Computer Systems Manager, Physics and Astronomy, Univ. of Mississippi
125B Lewis Hall - 662-915-5765

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