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Re: DRAFT summary of the OPL; feedback requested

On Wed, 10 Mar 2004, Jeremy Hankins wrote:
> This is a serious question: how does "(DFSG 3)" tacked on to the end
> of a sentence help to explain the issue?

In the same way that a footnote or reference does.

It's always appropriate to refer to the basis for a specific claim. In
this case, the claim would be that a particular statement is in direct
validation of a particular tenent of the DFSG. Since you're claiming
that it's violating the DFSG instead of being mere legal fooery, you
should indicate which section(s) of the DFSG is being violated, much
like you would in any form of discourse.

Obviously, those who know the DFSG know which sections are what, but
it's a service to those who are unfamiliar with the document.

> But thinking that the DFSG delineates a bunch of categories into
> which non-free licenses can fall is a depressingly common, and
> absolutely *wrong*, viewpoint.  Reinforcing that notion is a bad
> idea.

I'm not so sure that it's a wrong viewpoint. It seems to me that this
is a conflation of "DFSG as a guideline vs DFSG as a definition"[1]
and "indicating how the DFSG is used as a guideline."

There are licenses which violate specific sections of the DFSG. We can
use that information to compare licenses and become better at
interpreting the clauses of the DFSG in an appropriate manner.

People will continue to erroneously think of the DFSG as a definition,
just as people erroneously only read legislation without reading case
law. Failing to cite references appropriately isn't really going to
cure this.

Don Armstrong

1: Eg, the OSD issue
Of course, there are ceases where only a rare individual will have the
vision to perceive a system which governs many people's lives; a
system which had never before even been recognized as a system; then
such people often devote their lives to convincing other people that
the system really is there and that it aught to be exited from. 
 -- Douglas R. Hofstadter _Gödel Escher Bach. Eternal Golden Braid_


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