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

On Sat, Mar 08, 2003 at 02:55:48AM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> You'd want to be careful about ending up with YA documentation license
> that's mutually incompatible with everything else out there. Or at least,
> very upfront about it, so people can avoid it.

I've been making bellicose statements about a DFCL (Debian Free Content
License) for several months now.

Things just keep coming in above it in the priority queue.

YA documentation license, one that is a copyleft, may be the only option
open to us.  I'd be most interested if someone can suggest another

> > > and a review of our documentation to see what needs to be forked from
> > > an earlier version or moved into non-free.
> > Yes, that's going to be the painful bit, and the one that gets our
> > hapless volunteer flamed to hell and back.
> So, how's X 4.3 coming along, anyway? ;)


Just for that you get fed something out my boilerplates directory.

[The following is a form letter.]


You recently sent a message to me or to the debian-x mailing list,
inquiring as to when Debian packages of XFree86 4.3.0 (which was released
on 27 February) would be ready.

Please do not send messages, whether privately, to a mailing list, or to
any other forum, asking when Debian packages will be ready.  Such messages
serve only to nag me, and in many cases cause me to take time replying to
redundant questions that I could spend working on the packages instead.
Nagging me anyway might be enjoyable to you, or it might reflect your
personal anxiety for the latest and greatest version of XFree86, but its
effect on me is to take some of the fun and interest out of working on
XFree86, and make it seem more like a chore.  If you reflect on the fact
that I have been maintaining XFree86 packages for Debian for the past five
years in large part because I find it fun and interesting, you may not want
to indulge in self-defeating actions that rob me of my motivation to
continue doing so.  Debian packages of XFree86 4.3.0 will be available as
soon as I can reasonably have them prepared.  Updates on my progress will
be available at the following Web site:


XFree86 is a complicated collection of software, containing everything from
a large application that contains its own ELF object loader (the XFree86 X
server itself); to approximately a dozen shared libraries; over a dozen
more libraries available in static form (which implement non-standardized X
protocol extensions); several dozen other application programs (some of
which are utilities, and some of which are X clients), including xterm
(probably the most widely-used terminal emulator for Unix in history); a
large of amount of localization data used by the X library (Xlib) and the
XKEYBOARD protocol extension (XKB); and a bevy of large pieces of
documentation that describe the X protocol, library implementations, and
various protocol extensions.  Furthermore, a very significant number of
other packages in the Debian system ultimately depend on the XFree86
packages, either at build-time, run-time, or both; errors in XFree86
packaging, then, can be highly disruptive to the rest of the system, and it
is unwise to release such packages, even into the Debian "unstable"
distribution, before they've been fairly extensively tested -- many Debian
package autobuilders and developers, for instance, run Debian "unstable"
constantly, and sudden breakage of XFree86 can severely hamper them.

Preparation and packaging of a new upstream release of XFree86 is not in
any way analogous to that of most packages in Debian; it is a significant
piece of infrastructure that must be handled with care and attention to
detail.  I do my best to handle it accordingly.  Therefore, please be
patient while I attempt to give the process of packaging XFree86 for Debian
the diligence it requires.

Thanks for using the Debian system!

G. Branden Robinson                |     There's nothing an agnostic can't
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     do if he doesn't know whether he
branden@debian.org                 |     believes in it or not.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- Graham Chapman

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