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Re: OSD && DFSG convergence

On Sun, Jan 26, 2003 at 10:15:21PM -0500, Russell Nelson wrote:

>> Finally, as Steve pointed out, I'm sure the OSI would wish to maintain
>> their own autonomy in determining if particular licenses are "open
>> source", just as we in Debian need our own autonomy in doing so.

> We could still do so based on identical documents.

On the face of it, I don't see any reason why this isn't possible --
though, of course, our own *local* bureaucracy is such that it would
likely take some time before the DFSG were ever modified. :-)

>> I might suggest, however, you approach the LSB or other larger free
>> software standards organizations regarding a community-wide definition
>> of "free software", "open source", or whatever you want to call it.

> The problem here is that it is *you* who is angry at *us*.  We feel a
> need to heal that rift, and by "we" I mean the boards of the Open
> Source Initiative, Inc.  and Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

May I ask what the basis of that statement is?  I for one am not in the
least bit angry with the OSI.  Is there some reason I should be? :D

At the same time, I don't perceive the OSI as being directly relevant to
the work that Debian does; nor do I see any reason it should be.  You
yourself said that the OSI cannot be arbitrary.  While I wouldn't say
that Debian's reading of the DFSG is "arbitrary", I do think it's
important that Debian have the power to interpret the guidelines in the
spirit in which they were intended, and not be held by law to a literal
reading of the DFSG.

>>> I'm inclined to believe that your second example is also a minor
>>> issue, because if the software is DFSG-compliant in all other
>>> respects, it should be possible to legally remove the click-wrap
>>> requirement from the code -- just as you can charge someone a fee
>>> for giving them GPL software, but you cannot prevent them from
>>> giving it away for free once they have it.

>> Hmm.  Yes, I would think the Deiban maintainer would be able to strip
>> the click-wrap, or if not, the software wouldn't really be DFSG-free
>> anyhow, would it?

> On what basis do you think you can remove objectionable terms of a
> license?  Where does it say that in the DFSG?  Conversely, where does
> it say in the DFSG that a license must not require click-wrap, or
> indeed, any other type of affirmative assent?

It's not a matter of being able to remove objectionable terms from the
license; it's a matter of any license that contains such a term already
failing to meet the requirements of the DFSG as we understand them,
because the license must not unnecessarily restrict the creation of
derived works.  I think the GPL's requirement that a program display a
disclaimer of warranty and copyright notice when run interactively is
about the most that Debian developers are likely to concede as a
restriction on the nature of the modifications; and some will concede
that only because the GPL is grandfathered into the DFSG explicitly.
Requiring that derivative works help the author enforce an EULA against
users is pretty non-free, IMHO.

Still, I don't see that it would *hurt* anything to spell this out in
the DFSG; rather, I agree that it's better to make our intentions

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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