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Re: Referencing the DFSG [Re: DRAFT summary of the OPL; feedback requested]

Don Armstrong <don@donarmstrong.com> writes:
> On Fri, 12 Mar 2004, Jeremy Hankins wrote:

>> But my point is that it does more than just leave something out.
>> It's orthogonal.  You're saying that knowing the section of the DFSG
>> provides some, but not all, information about why we decided the
>> license is not free.  I'm saying that it includes almost no
>> information about why the license is non-free.
> I'm not understanding you then, apparently.
> What would you have us use as a metric to decide whether a license is
> free or non-free beyond the DFSG, the four freedoms[1] and "common
> sense"[2]?

Yes, we're talking about two different things.  Without going into all
the different varieties of "why"[1], we're talking about two of them.  I
agree that the ultimate grounding (one sense of "why") for our
discussions is the DFSG.  But "violates the DSFG" is only a very, very
small portion of how we reach a decision.  Being the final destination,
it happens to be a very important part of the trip.  But the path we
take to reach that conclusion and the points along the way (another
sense of "why") is far more complex.

I think you're conflating those two questions, or I'm not being clear
enough on the distinction.  The DFSG (along with the FSF's four
freedoms, for example) as an ultimate grounding for our discussions is
very useful as a way to guide and conduct our discussions.  But if you
want to know how we reached the conclusion we did, or classify the kinds
of ways licenses fail the DFSG, it's not very relevant.  For that you
want the "why" which is chain of logic that gets us there.  That's the
question that gives us the shape of the license, and the bits of
reasoning that can perhaps be reused again and again (like the various

Thus my claim that classifying licenses based on the section of the DFSG
that they fail is really quite uninteresting and useless (or worse), as
it can tell us nothing that we don't already know (e.g., that the DFSG
is our standard).

[1] Aristotle spent far more time on this than any sane person would.
    I'd say I hope not to offend any Aristotelians, but I'd be lying. :)

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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