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Re: A possible approach in "solving" the FDL problem

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On Tue, Aug 12, 2003 at 01:13:04AM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 11, 2003 at 03:06:31PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > You're being obtuse, and possibly deliberately hostile.
> Excuse me?

I didn't think it was necessary to repeat oneself in email messages
where the original words are plainly visible, but okay:

You're being obtuse, and possibly deliberately hostile.

> My point being that this situation is suboptimal; I'd like to change
> that.

Fine.  What's stopping you?  I personally am in favor of the developers
exercising their power under Constitution 4.1.5 to make the same
clarification I offered under my "PROCLAMATION" elsewhere in this

> > Ridiculing and belittling the people who contribute to this mailing
> > list by accusing them of constructing their own feifdom is an
> > inferior approach.
> It has never been my intention to do so; I'm merely stating my opinion.

You've said outright that the debian-legal team is deciding things "all
by itself".  This is true only to the extent that the many self-selected
non-members of that team fail to participate.  Participation means more
than just making exhortations that package "foo" should be in main -- it
means making cogent arguments in support of or against a particular
position.  By building up a level of collective experience into a
(semi-) coherent framework, we can render decisions that are more
predictable and less likely to be conceived of as capricious.

> Rest assured, I know. It's exactly because the debian-legal mailinglist
> does *not* seem to be opaque to me, that I wanted to 


> I'm not saying I find the interpretation the debian-legal mailinglist
> has applied to the Social Contract and the DFSG 'foul' or 'disgusting'.
> I'm merely saying that the way they have been interpreted, although the
> only valid way according to the current texts of the respective
> documents, may not be the correct way (apart from what the DFSG and the
> Social Contract say), and thus that they may have to be altered, or
> cleared out.

They "may" not be correct, therefore they "may have" to be altered?

This seems a textbook case of begging the question.  Establish first
that the debian-legal team's current application of the term "software"
to all binary digits that get shipped in Debian main is fallacious even
if valid.

Let's work from premises forward, not from conclusions backwards.[1]

> And yes, I know very well that I have all the power I need to propose a
> GR, thank you. However, I would consider it very bad practice to propose
> a general resolution on _any_ subject without first discussing its
> subject with those that could, by the fact that they discuss it on a
> daily basis, be considered to be knowledgeable on the subject.

The problem is that this subject has been discussed to death.  There are
literally years' worth of archived discussion of this issue.

I think there are reasons that more and more regulars on this list have
come to feel that the GNU FDL is non-free.  Those reasons are exhaustive
analysis of the GNU FDL's terms, and persuasive argument that the
consequences of accepting the GNU FDL as "free" means that Debian would
be hard pressed to consistently not accept many other potential licenses
as "free" when most of us would feel that such licenses are not free.

The Free Software Foundation doesn't have to be ideologically consistent
because it writes its own licenses.  They can and do disparage many
other licenses which they haven't authored.[2]

Debian isn't in the license-authoring business; we're in the software
distribution business.  It says so in clause #1 of our Social Contract.

> My intention has never been to ridicule, laugh at, or insult anyone;
> only to consult and gather opinions -- and defend my opinion, of course.

[1] In other words, let's think like liberals, not conservatives.
[2] Sometimes the Debian Project agrees with such disparagement, and
    sometimes it doesn't.

G. Branden Robinson                |      Mob rule isn't any prettier just
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      because you call your mob a
branden@debian.org                 |      government.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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