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Re: the FSF's definition of Free Software and its value for Debian

On Wed, 2003-03-05 at 11:52, Branden Robinson wrote:
> FSF's definition of Free Software      -->   Constitution
> Debian Free Software Guidelines        -->   statutory law
> debian-legal discussions               -->   case law


> So debian-legal, in our role as judges and arbitrators, attempt to
> interpret the DFSG and the licenses brought before us.  But we do this
> in a context -- an *important* context, which is our understanding of
> what freedom means.  This is another reason we should not be overly
> literal in our interpretations of the DFSG, and blithely brand a license
> as "DFSG-free" it seems to abide by letter of the DFSG in its narrowest
> reading, but poses a threat to our users or Free Software that we did
> not have the foresight to articulate in the DFSG.


> What do you folks think of my paradigm?  Useful or not?

I think it's brilliant.  But I think it will not reduce disputes, only
metadisputes (like the parent thread).

Since you've standardized on common law, there's also stare decisis, and
debian-legal gets to make up tests like the Desert Island and Chinese
Dissident tests without complaints of legislating from the bench.

I also think it's brilliant, because it means that I won't have to
metadispute when I suggest again that we look at DFSG 3 compliance via
the "least restrictive means" / "compelling Free Software interest" 
analysis that I proposed during the AGPL thread.  

-Dave Turner                     Stalk Me: 617 441 0668

"On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters 
of principle, stand like a rock." -Thomas Jefferson

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