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Re: [Discussioni] OSD && DFSG convergence

>  > On Mon, Jan 27, 2003 at 09:56:00AM -0500, Russell Nelson wrote:
>  > > what do you do when someone comes along and interprets its ambiguity
>  > > to mean what *they* want?

We patiently explain that DSFG are guidelines to Debian about what to 
include, not a litmus test for authors to use to skirt our requirement 
that Debian stays free.  Sometimes this results in an improved license, 
often it results in a flamewar.  So far it has not resulted in a lawsuit, 
nor do I think it likely to.

On Mon, 27 Jan 2003, Russell Nelson wrote:
> Has Debian ever rejected software which complies with the DFSG?  If
> you do something in practice, other parties could rely on that.  It's
> just like the private road which is never closed to the public.  In
> time, it *becomes* public.

Debian has rejected packages which the copyright holder believed complied 
with the DSFG.  We've rejected packages that appear to comply, but the 
copyright holder has an odd interpretation of its license.  There's 
certainly software not in Debian whose freedom is unquestioned.

> I won't name names, but we (OSI) have been threatened with exactly
> that scenario.  It is as I feared: the DFSG and OSD, although
> originally the same documents, and nearly identical now, are being
> used for two different and incompatible purposes.

It sounds that way.  I wish you well, but do not have high hopes, for you 
to come up with a true operational definition of free software.  Heh, and 
then folks will ask "what about non-software things like documentation and 

> So, are you totally against the idea of changing the DFSG even though
> you probably can't find a single .deb on your machine that hasn't been 
> touched in five years?  There seems to be a firm resistance to the
> idea of changing the DFSG to reflect changing times.

Personally, I'm not against seeing the DSFG changed to make it clearer, to
remove loopholes, etc.  However, it's very hard to do so, both politically
within Debian (for good reason) and intellectually to come up with such
verbiage.  I _DO_ object to changing it's use to be a binding definition
rather than a set of guidelines.
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>  

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