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Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes

Hi Russell Nelson,

> Glenn Maynard writes:
>  > http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200207/msg00448.html
> Thanks.
>  > > Why not change the DFSG?
>  > 
>  > There have been several good reasons explained for leaving the DFSG
>  > as a set of human guidelines, rather than a word-strict block of
>  > legalese that attempts to remove all human judgement from the
>  > equation.
> I'm not saying that it's possible to remove all human judgement.  If it
> were ever possible to do that, then we could put judges out of business.
>  It *is* possible, though, to change the DFSG to cause it to more
> closely resemble the case law that debian-legal has developed.
> The problem with relying on human judgement is that it can be arbitrary.
>  If Microsoft came to Debian and said "Would you accept this software
> licensed under the Microsoft Public License?" would you be able to make
> a judgement which is not only not arbitrary, but which could be *seen*
> to be non-arbitrary?

I have the uttermost faith that developers would be able to come to a
reasoned, non-arbitrary and non-vindictive decision.

The decision can be *seen* to be non-arbitrary because the discussion is
public, reasons are given for the decision and those reasons are further
debated. If continuing debate uncovers unfair/arbitrary decision making
then further public discussion will expose it. Eventually a reasonable
consensus takes hold.

> If you want to make judgements on things which aren't in the DFSG, how
> can you not be seen as arbitrary?

Well I'm surprised you are making an issue about public domain software
and the DFSG. There is overwhelming consensus and precedent for it is
being DFSG-free (a one minute thought experiment can also demonstrate it:
Why is the LGPL DFSG-free? Because it can be relicensed under the GPL and
the GPL is DFSG-free. Let's apply the same induction to the public domain:
Public domain software is DFSG-free because it can be used in and licensed
as DFSG-free software).

The fact you are continuing to make an issue of this when nearly everyone
else is quite happy to interpret the guidelines in a reasonable and long
established manner indicates to me that your approach is wrong for the
Debian community.

Furthermore, if Debian became completely formulaic in its decision making
I am confident a company would find a way to violate the spirit of the
DFSG while complying with it in letter.

>From my perspective the OSI has certified one or more licenses that I do
not consider to be free software/DFSG-free. This is consistent with the
founding principles of the OSI which puts more emphasis upon encouraging
business adoption of quasi-free software (a.k.a. ``Open Source''). As
there is a difference in philosophies I can't see how convergence can be
achieved unless either organisation decides to modify their founding


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