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Re: RFC: Debian License Information on www.debian.org

Frank Lichtenheld <djpig@debian.org> writes:

I just completed the first version of these pages (loosly based on the
pages of the security team), put them online and added a first
license, OPL, based on the summary on debian-legal by Jeremy
Hankins. You can find these pages on
http://www.debian.org/legal/licenses/ (and every other mirror of

Possibly something on the front page explaining the differences between the three categories might be useful? Maybe an introduction along the lines of

These site presents the opinion of the Debian project on how certain licenses meet the standards set by the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG), which describe the freedoms Debian requires for its users. We classify licenses as Free if they meet these standards [explanation why free is good], Non-Free if the software can be redistributed under certain conditions [explanation why this is bad], and non-distributable, if the license is inconsistent, or forbids redistribution [something about non-redistributable being bad]. [Statement about only Debian servers only distributing free and non-free software, carefully worded so as to stress that non-free is not part of the Debian distribution] [pointer to legal FAQ]

(but written in more concise, fluent English) might be helpful, as it is likely that this page will become many people's first encounter with debian-legal, and maybe even Debian (just as http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html is many people's first encounter with the FSF). As Debian's opinions on freeness are well-know and respected, a page like this is likely to pull in a lot of people who are only familiar with [controversial license of the week], and not necessarily Debian jargon.

As an aside, I expected the links in '_free licenses_, _non-free licenses_, and _licenses that don't allow redistribution_' to link to definitions of the categories (rather than the list of licenses); maybe others might also make the same mistake.

Lewis Jardine

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