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Re: [Discussioni] OSD && DFSG convergence

On Mon, Jan 27, 2003 at 03:09:40PM -0500, Russell Nelson wrote:
> Steve Langasek writes:
>  > 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?

>  > ... Which would be complete and utter bullshit, because Debian has never
>  > represented, *anywhere*, that it will package all software someone
>  > releases under a DFSG-compliant license.

> Has Debian ever rejected software which complies with the DFSG?  If
> you do something in practice, other parties could rely on that.

Oh, absolutely.  On grounds of licensing?  Maybe, maybe not.  Either way,
there is nothing that can reasonably be construed as imposing an
obligation on Debian to distribute all software that meets the DFSG.
The DFSG spells out conditions that are necessary, but not sufficient,
for software to enter the main archive.

> 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.

Why is this to be feared?  The ability to employ human judgement in
deciding what software should be included in our archive is an
*asset*, not a weakness; just as, where the mission of the OSI is
concerned, being held to a position of neutrality is an asset.  There's
nothing wrong with the fact that the two organizations need documents
that can be applied in slightly different manners; working towards a
shared definition of freedom doesn't require marching in lockstep.

> 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.

I had hoped that my earlier messages conveyed that I was not opposed to
changing the DFSG; but such changes are doomed to be delayed by Debian's
current lack of process for revising our core documents.  If we are going
to start down that long road we must first be able to articulate *why*
the change is necessary, or we'll never move the body of developers to
action on what amounts to a purely political issue.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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