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Re: [Discussioni] OSD && DFSG convergence

On Wed, 29 Jan 2003, Russell Nelson wrote:

> 1) Surely you've seen the Monty Python movie "Life of Brian", where
> the People's Front of Judea and the Judean People's Front are
> constantly at loggerheads?  While the real power are the Romans, of
> course.  I needn't elaborate.

Perhaps I'm dense, or perhaps you do need to elaborate.  Debian and OSI 
can certainly work together and agree on many things even if these 
documents differ.  As far as I can tell, we're rarely at loggerheads.

If there are disagreements that are causing pain to OSI, Debian, or other
groups, let's talk about those specific problems and see if we can resolve
them.  Starting out by trying to change constitutions is a pretty wild

> 2) Besides that, there are at least four definitions of "free
> software": the OSD, the DFSG, the DFSG as interpreted by debian-legal, 
> and RMS's definition.

Of that list, only 1 claims to be a definition.  In reality, there are 
thousands of opinions about what constitutes freedom.  

> Suppose someone wants to join this community of 
> software developers.  Which community does he join?  By joining one,
> does he join all? 

Of course not, communities don't work that way.  He joins whatever 
community(ies) he wants to.  Communities are interconnected, so he 
probably gets introduced to many additional communities that he can join.

There is no "free software community".  There's probably no "Debian 
community", though there are various connected communities within Debian.  

> Confusion isn't good for us.

This phrase has no content.  Confusion is better than being ignored or 
forced into something, and worse than having everyone agree with us (for 
various us-es).

> 3) NOBODY is served well by a split (which I don't think has actually
> occurred, but the potential alarms people) wherein the corporate
> entities choose the OSD, and software developers choose from the list
> of alternatives above.

There is no community of "corporate entities" either.  Each individual 
corporation gets to choose it's criteria for distributing software.  As 
has been shown, they tend not to like to use existing licenses, so 
each one has to be judged seperately.

If you want to do some real good for the "corporate community", come up
with a set of licenses that netscape, ibm, apple, etc. agree to use and
both OSI and Debian agree is unambiguously free.  Then (like now), it
won't matter if our critera have different words and different processes
for determination.
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>  

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