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Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes - constructive suggestion!



On Sun, Mar 09, 2003 at 07:20:36PM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> Scripsit Glenn Maynard <g_deb@zewt.org>
> > > It has been suggested that this test be referred to as simply as the
> > > "Dissident" test.
> > /me grumbles about wasting time with excessive PC noises, rejects this
> > suggestion and continues to call it the same thing
> Ditto. If and when it so happens that the Chinese people achieves
> freedom of speech and thought, [...]

Personally, if we're going to document this and use it as an official test
rather than a helpful rule of thumb, I don't think we need to be insulting
a country that's potentially going all pro-Linux while we need to do it.

Correcting it is a five word change that loses no meaning:

         b. The Dissident test.
            Consider a dissident in a totalitarian country who
            wishes to share a modified bit of software with other
            dissidents, but does not wish to reveal his own identity as 
            the modifier, or directly reveal the modifications
            themselves, to the government. Any requirement for sending   
            source modifications to anyone other than the recipient of
            the modified binary---in fact any forced distribution at all,
            beyond giving source to those who receive a copy of the 
            binary---would put the dissident in danger. For Debian to
            consider software free it must not require any such "excess" 
            distribution.

I'm inclined to wonder about the point of this test anyway; in such a
regime, the government's going to be in a stronger position to demand
access to the modifications than the copyright holder anyway, so the
license conditions seem a bit irrelevant.

The FSF's privacy freedom is:

   You should also have the freedom to make modifications and use them
   privately in your own work or play, without even mentioning that they
   exist. If you do publish your changes, you should not be required to
   notify anyone in particular, or in any particular way.

which doesn't imply the "dissident test". The key point's always been "not
having to go to any effort just to use the program", and "not having to go
to too much effort just to pass it around to some friends"; so is the QPL's
clause really that evil? Would a clause in the RPSL to the effect of:

	(a) If this program generates HTML pages, they must include
	    a comment in the HTML source that they were generated by
	    this program and include its copyright notice.

	(b) If asked by the authors, you must provide them with a copy
	    of your changes to the source code changes at cost.

really be that evil? I can't see how it would put a significant burden
on people using the code, and with some care, it could solve the "ASP
loophole".

Cheers,
aj

-- 
Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

  ``Dear Anthony Towns: [...] Congratulations -- 
        you are now certified as a Red Hat Certified Engineer!''

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