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Re: DFSG#10 and the Open Source Initiative

@ 25/05/2004 21:53 : wrote Glenn Maynard :

> On Tue, May 25, 2004 at 07:21:17PM -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
>>> It's still the GPL, and it's not a case of strange
>>> interpretations--GPL#8 is explicitly intended to be used in this
>>> way. I don't think any reasonable interpretation of DFSG#10 can make
>>> it say "the GPL is free, unless GPL#8 is exercised".
>> It is the GPL, and it's not. "The GPL with a restriction excluding
>> the USA" is not the GPL used on gcc.

No, it's the GPL, with the only one additional restriction you are able
to attach to it.

> DFSG#10 does not say "the GPL used on gcc".
>> I don't remember any convincing reasoning that there's an implied
>> "all" there. The closest to that was "we're more concerned about the
>> spirit of the DFSG than the literal text", or something of that sort.
> I'll supply someone else's argument, since I've argued my own already:
> From: Josh Triplett <josh.trip@verizon.net> Message-ID:
> <[🔎] 40A1670A.8020107@verizon.net>
>> DFSG 3 states that "The license must allow modifications and derived
>> works". If you read that as "some modifications and derived works",
>> then there must be some qualification for which ones, and no such
>> qualification is present in the DFSG. If you read it as "all
>> modifications and derived works", no such qualification is necessary.
>> While the DFSG does not explicitly state which interpretation is
>> correct, it does not include the supporting information necessary for
>> the "some" interpretation to be valid.

And I'll supply my (opposing) argument:

The DFSG must include such supporting information, and I'll explain why.
If you interpret it as "all modifications and derived works", you
excluded _almost_ _any_ license, since every license I can recall from
memory forbids you to touch the copyright notices, among other stuff.

This is the reason why I believe the supporting information necessary
for the "some" interpretation be valid is, in fact, in the body of the
DFSG: if it's not, and the only valid interpretation is "all
modifications", then you are in deep trouble, because there will always
be forbidden modifications. Eliminating "all" option, all we have is the
"some" option, and then we have to:

(a) find said supporting information in the body of the DFSG; or

(b) supply separately said supporting information; or

(c) decide on such supporting information on a case-by-case basis.

What I think has been applied, historically, in d-l is a mix of (c) and
(a), with the emphasis in (a) being interpreted as "well, based on
DFSG#4 and #10, we can assume kind-of if a license does not extrapolate
the restrictions of the GPL (/sans/GPL#8), the BSD license and the
Artistic License, or if it permits the distribution of patched binaries
and of the source with the patch, then it is a free software license".

> The body of your response:
>> You are correct that the DFSG does not exhaustively list all
>> qualifications.  But some qualifications are implied. Paragraphs 4
>> and 10 both indicate that some qualifications must be allowed.

This is my opinion, too.

> Your response did not convincingly counter Josh's argument, since "the
> supporting information necessary" is, in fact, not present.

I disagree, for the reasons I have exposed.

> DFSG#4 is usually read as an explicit exception to DFSG#3, and does
> not qualify as the "supporting information necessary for the "some"
> interpretation to be valid."
> The reference to DFSG#10 again assumes a consensus regarding DFSG#10
> that doesn't exist; I'll skip that, since we've been there.

I agree 100% with you; that's the reason why I proposed amended terms to
the DFSG#10. But my reference do DFSG#10 does not assume such consensus;
it's a consequence on the project's decisions about licenses; and a
single, logical path to understanding the DFSG#3.

> (Josh's response applies to the "all instances of the GPL" versus
> "some instances of the GPL" argument, as well.)
> I'm not going to continue this argument much longer, though, for the
> same reasons as before--I believe your interpretation of DFSG#3 is an
> extreme minority, and the debate is tiresome (probably for the rest of
> the list as well as myself).

I don't think *my* interpretation is an extreme minority,  but I would
like to check.

My summary: IMHO,

1. the DFSG#3 means "some modifications", not "all modifications";

2. which modifications are to be permitted is scoped by DFSG#4 and #10,
as I stated above: "the maximum restrictions are those in the GPL, BSD,
Artistic, or to restrict source modification but permit accompanying it
with patches and distributing patched binaries";

3. this is the only interpretation of the DFSG that does not render
*every* non-public-domain work non-DFSG-free;

4. I agree the real meaning of the DFSG#10 is in dispute, and this is
the reason why I proposed amended terms so it can be clarified -- but
this does not influence item 3 above;

5. I think this is an important, defining discussion, that should not be
put aside.

best regards, Massa

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