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Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes

Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com> writes:

> More than anything else, I'm wanting to see if it's at all possible
> to work with you.  What I'd really like to do is let debian-legal
> judge licenses, and have OSI rubber-stamp your decision.  In order
> to do that, though, you'd need to modify the OSD so that it reflects
> your current understanding of the DFSG and stands on its own.  It's
> just not possible for us to say "If you want to find out what the
> OSD really means, go read debian-legal."  That works for the DFSG
> (for small values of "work", IMHO), but it's a non-starter for the
> OSD.

I think you've put your finger on the problem quite nicely.  What the
DFSG does is something completely different from what the OSD does.
This has been said before, of course, and it's easy to assume you're
simply unable or unwilling to see that.  In interpreting the DFSG we
are not only free to be flexible, push at boundary cases, and
generally try to get at the spirit behind the words, but we are
*obligated* to do so.  Debian's responsibilities are to its users and
we would be doing our users a disservice if we let through a license
that appeared to pass, or came close to passing, or technically
passed, but didn't give our users the freedoms the DFSG claims to give

>From what you've said, I gather that the situation is different for
you.  Your "customers" are not the people who will be using the
software under the licenses you examine, but are the folks submitting
licenses to you.  Naturally, if that's the case you're going to need
to make sure you can explain why a particular license doesn't meet the
OSD, and you're going to need to be sure that licensors understand
what they need to do for a license to pass.

Debian-legal needn't do any of these things (though we generally
try).  And we certainly can't afford to give up the right to interpret
the DFSG as we see fit; doing so would leave us unable to meet our
primary responsibilities (our users).

I'm pretty sure that every point I've made above has been made by
others before, so I'm not sure if I've added anything to the
conversation.  I think it's pretty clear that harmonization between
the OSD and the DFSG in not only not going to work, it would be

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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