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Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes

Ean Schuessler <ean@brainfood.com> writes:

> The underlying reason I see an advantage to the community encouraging a
> unified definition of Free Software is government legislation. It is
> fairly obvious to me that neither patents nor Free Software are going to
> go away anytime soon. As a result we are going to see various
> compromises made about what is and what isn't fair play as legislators
> work through these problems. If legislators are left with a confusing
> picture of what the community wants then we can be assured that those
> compromises will not make us happy.

Sure, but so far the OSD has taken a fundamentally different tack from
everyone else doing free software.  By getting into the game of a
"definition" and a rigid test for what is and is not free, a massive
amount of very valuable flexibility was sacrificed.

I don't have any desire to see Debian sacrifice that flexibility, nor
the FSF.  

It seems clear to me that any license that passes Debian's muster is
going to pass the OSD.  It's clear to me, in other words, that
OSD-free is a superset of Debian-free.  FSF-free also appears to be a
superset of Debian free, ironically (everyone who knows the history
would have expected the opposite).  Probably we have something like:

Debian-free < FSF-free < OSD-free

where "<" is a subsetting relation.

If, therefore, OSD-free gets written into some law granting special
patent rights to free software, say, then that's something that we can
all live with quite happily.

> The other path open to us, and this is something I am addressing in my
> document, is to aggressively grow Debian's user and developer base to
> the point that other definitions become irrelevent. This path, while
> difficult, is largely a logistical problem and perhaps more
> approachable.

Debian doesn't *have* a definition.  

What is the competing standard, though, to Debian's?  Does Red Hat use
the OSD?  SuSE?  I'm not sure that any other major software
distributions even *have* something as formal as the DFSG.  

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