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Re: [Discussioni] OSD && DFSG convergence

On Tue, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:49:00AM -0500, Russell Nelson wrote:
> Mark Rafn writes:
>  > I _DO_ object to changing it's use to be a binding definition
>  > rather than a set of guidelines.

> This seems to be a sticking point with a lot of people.  Essentially,
> everyone seems to be defending their right to arbitrarily exclude
> software from Debian.  But that is a right you don't have.

Errrr, of course it is.  The OSD is a definition, but Debian is a
*product*; although we're held to an *ethical* standard in the form of
the Social Contract and the DFSG, no one can hold us *legally*
accountable for our decisions to not include a given piece of software in
our product, no matter how arbitrary that decision might be.[1]  OTOH, if
we were to adopt a public policy that "everything that meets the DFSG is
allowed in main", we might as a consequence be exposing ourselves to
liability that doesn't otherwise exist -- even in the case where a piece
of Free Software is such utter crap that its very presence in the archive
is a disservice to our users.

> Well... what is wrong with amending the DFSG so it incorporates the
> case law?  Because it's hard?  Shit, coding is *hard* and we do it
> anyway.

Coding is hard, but provides tangible benefits.  Political change is
hard, and provides fewer tangible benefits.

> It seems to me rather that the membership would *want* to change the
> DFSG, if only so as to keep the subset of Debian which is debian-legal
> in check.

Then I will again assert that debian-legal is the wrong forum for
proposing a change to the documents that debian-legal is here to

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

[1] Unless someone tried to get us on criminal negligence for failing to
provide certain security-related software, perhaps; that's a case I'd
almost like to lose, just to see the repercussions for OS distributors
who truly *are* negligent. ;)

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