[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Inconsistencies in our approach

John Goerzen <jgoerzen@complete.org> wrote:
> As the discussion about FDL and the RFCs continues, I have seen various
> people attempt to disect the DFSG, or to redefine "software" in a highly
> loose manner, or to question DFSG's applicability to non-software items.

If FDL-covered works are not software, than doesn't the SC mean that they
should not be in Debian?

> *ALL* of these approaches are wrong.  Putting non-software items into the
> same box as a very different beast serves only to cloud the issue.

Can someone please offer more evidence for this assertion that we cannot
treat software and other works alike?  I can only find evidence for the
contrary view (eg computer programs are specifically classed as literary
works in the current UK copyright law).

Really, I'd like a clear demonstration of how they differ in such a
fundamental way as to make attempts to have a unified decision system
invalid.  The best that has been given so far is the opinion that some
writing should be classed as an expression of opinion and not modified
to express other opinions.  That's fine as an opinion, but some people
think software should not be modified to aid (say) racist groups.

> We have, and continue to, allow information to be distributed with software
> under even more strict terms than the FDL.  Examples of these things include
> licenses.

We are legally compelled to do so, aren't we?  How would you resolve it
in another way?  This is a packaging problem, similar in one way to some
of the FDL problem, but different in another.

>  1. Would removing the manual for Emacs, libc, or other important GNU
>     software benefit our users?  Would it benefit Free Software?

It would benefit our users by better fulfilling our promises of 100%
free software and it would benefit free software by encouraging more
free documents about free software.

>  2. Would removing the specifications around wich large parts of our
>     system are based benefit our users?  Free Software?

It would not benefit them, but it may not significantly harm them,
as there are other sources for RFCs and our core stuff like the policy
manual are GPLd.

> [...] I think that we may be
> on the verge of going overboard in that we are saying "but that's not enough
> ability to modify for something that's Free!" when it really is.

I think we have different opinions on "appropriate".  How would you
suggest to deal with the specific problems from past FDL summaries?

MJR/slef   My Opinion Only and possibly not of any group I know.
      http://mjr.towers.org.uk/   jabber://slef@jabber.at
Creative copyleft computing services via http://www.ttllp.co.uk/
Thought: Edwin A Abbott wrote about trouble with Windows in 1884

Reply to: