"Robinson, Nerode and other free beer zealots" was: A possible GFDL compromise
On Fri, 12 Sep 2003, MJ Ray wrote:
>On 2003-09-12 17:43:49 +0100 Fedor Zuev <Fedor_zuev@mail.ru> wrote:
>> 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
>I'm curious: I have been on this list since early this year and
>have read a significant proportion of the last two years of
>archived messages, but I have not yet got the impression that the
>people you name are "free beer zealots". Rather, they seem to be
>"freedom zealots" if anything. Do you have any evidence to support
Really, I do not believe that you did not read FSD. All the
more so you menyioned it below.
My English is very bad and I can't expect to explain things
more intelligible then Stallman already did. But I will try to
explain at least something.
Free beer is about price. When you get cheaper price (for
example, less obligations on the side of recipient|user, when we
come to software licensing), you get more free beer.
Free speech is about liberty. Not only about liberty of Free
Stuff receipients, but, as well, about liberty of society, liberty
of _everyone_ _else_. Free speech is _not_ about price. Moreover,
very often free speech costs you a lot, sometimes it costs you more
than absence of free speech.
There a lot of people in this list, who cares very much
about cost ("Invariant Sections is clearly non-free"), but cares
very little about liberty ("Discrimination toward DRM is non-free
too"). It will be coherent to call such people a free beer zealots.
>I thought DFSG was widely regarded as a toolbox of checks to
>perform. The explanatory wording on the social contract page (that
>is, the additional description rather than the actual terms)
>confuses matters a little.
AFAIK, matters is simple (correct me, if I wrong).
Every Debian Developer signed under DFSG. _No_ Debian
Developer besides you, signed under your personal feelings about
Therefore, you can talk about DFSG-compliance as
representatives of Debian Project. Or you can talk about your
perception of free software on your own. But, IMNSHO, it will be
dishonest to talk as representatives of Debian Project, but founding
only upon your personal perception of free software.
>Any group using the DFSG unchanged as a definition of free
>software will surely encounter numerous problems.
May be. May be you should create the official interpretation
of DFSG. But this is not change the things in present. DFSG has
official status. Everything else is not.
>For many of us, the principals are the FSF's "Free Software
>Definition". That is a better *definition* (although it suffers from
>a verbatim-reproduction-only copyright licence and an apparent retcon
>about what is "software") but it is not a set of tests. We would need
>to design tests based upon it. Recreate the DFSG? I suspect it would
>look like the DFSG, but I could be wrong.
Please note, one of differences between DFSG and FSD is that
latter does not require possiblity of arbitrary modification of
work, but only "freedom to improve the program, and release your
improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits".
Therefore, according to FSD, free license may disallow a
distribution of modification, which clearly can't be improvement, or
restrict some ways for [useful] modification, if there obviously
more than one way to do it. According to most popular (however,
IMHO, incoherent) interpretation of DFSG, it may not. For example
GFDL will be free according the FSD. Do you still think that FSD is
better definition of Free Software? :-)