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

On Sun, Mar 09, 2003 at 12:46:39PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:
> > 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.
> So what you're saying is, as long as China claims to stand for free
> software, it doesn't much matter to you how many people they kill and
> jail for actually trying to exercise any freedom?

No, I'm saying Debian's about free software, not about your favourite
set of politics. We don't have a problem with the United States using
Debian to aim their nuclear weapons, nor China using Debian to track
down the Falun Gong.

> > 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.
> Sure, and the desert island test also is kind of silly and extreme.  

The whole point is to make the test be extreme, that's how you get
clarity.  But it still has to make sense. It's entirely plausible that me
and a friend could be stuck with our solar powered laptops on a desert
island, and get bored and decide to hack on some free software. Not
_likely_, maybe, but believable, and a generalisation of a lot of
similar situations.

> > 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:
> Well, the FSF's privacy freedom *does* seem to imply the Chinese
> Dissident test, to me.  

It doesn't: a dissident can quite happily not mention that their software
exists, and not notify anyone about any changes or publication that
they're undertaking; and _still_ be required to give up their changes
when someone (whether it be the police, the government, or the original

> > 	(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.
> Such a forced publication requirement doesn't violate the Chinese
> Dissident test; it's a problem for an entirely different reason: it
> outright prohibits certain kinds of modification, which isn't at all
> connected with maintaining the copyright and license status of the
> program. 

Uh, it's exactly equivalent to the GPL's interactivity requirement;
except it applies to HTML generation, not interactive programs, and that
it's less in your face when you're using it.

> > 	(b) If asked by the authors, you must provide them with a copy
> > 	    of your changes to the source code changes at cost.
> "If you do publish your changes, you should not be required to notify
> anyone in particular."

Yes. Are you misunderstanding what the word "notify" means?


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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