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Re: A possible GFDL compromise

On Thu, 11 Sep 2003, Jeremy Hankins wrote:

>Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org> writes:

>> Those words are simply an indirect way of declining to recognize the
>> difference between loss of freedom and practical inconvenience.

>That's not entirely true; I believe that debian-legal generally
>makes this distinction based on the severity of the inconvenience
>(i.e., we make allowances for "insignificant" inconveniences).  I
>think this is the point that Joe Wreschnig was trying to make.
>Generally, though, an inconvenience must be quite insignificant
>indeed in order to warrant this free pass.

	In the other words, you want to say that debian-legal people
often make their decision about "freeness" of licenses founding
not upon DFSG, SC or other formal document, but only upon unwritten
and unspoken ephemeral tendencies and feelings.

	I agree. Moreover, I see this as the key point of all
problems. You can make agreement of principles with people, whose
principles are different from yours. But you can't make such an
agreement with people, who have not any principles at all (and are
proud of this).

	Since Robinson, Nerode and other free beer zealots does not
show, AFAIK, any clear-cut principles of freedom (and Robinson
explicitly declines that DFSG is a sufficient definition), any
attempt of FSF to make compromise with them will be pure waste of

>This is an essential point -- possibly even the source of our
>disagreement on this issue.  I believe (and I suspect that much of
>debian-legal agrees with me) that there is no good way to
>distinguish between a barrier that is an inconvenience and a
>barrier that is a loss of freedom.  Any attempt to do so will
>inevitably be context-dependant.

	May be. For the people with "I will recognize it, when I see
it" definition of free software.  For all others this is a
completely unrelated things.

>One of the core principles of the Free Software community, IMHO, is
>that the end user is king; the person with a problem to solve should
>not have his or her options curtailed any more than absolutely
>necessary by the distributor or the copyright holder.  Thus a useful
>heuristic (and I realize it is nothing more) is to be very, very
>suspect of context-dependant judgements enforced in licenses.

	Yeah. Well known free beer theory.

	Free software (even under as defined by DFSG) is not about
every imaginable service for a user. It is about specific set
of named freedom.

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