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Re: A radical approach to rewriting the DFSG

FWIW, I don't particularly like this idea.  The DFSG, in practice,
is working very well, and the "case law" developing around it is
practical and, at least on debian-legal, well-understood.

Perhaps you could call this the "Henning Free Stuff Guidelines" for now?
Having the same abbreviation is inconvenient.

On Sun, May 30, 2004 at 04:52:15PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> Henning Makholm wrote:
> >    <http://henning.makholm.net/debian/dfsg-bis.html>

3. ... "Here, an author means everyone who holds or owns a copyright
applicable to the work."

I think it's a feature of the DFSG that it does not reference any
particular set of laws (copyright, patent, trademark).

(If I write a piece of software, patent an algorithm in it, place it
in the public domain, so that I'm not an "author" by this definition,
and enforce my patent, the work is not free.)

4. Acceptable restrictions
 A. Copyright notices
 B. Warranty disclaimers
 C. License texts

What about the old Apache license:

3. The end-user documentation included with the redistribution,
   if any, must include the following acknowledgment:
      "This product includes software developed by the
       Apache Software Foundation (http://www.apache.org/)."
   Alternately, this acknowledgment may appear in the software itself,
   if and wherever such third-party acknowledgments normally appear.

A lot of other software uses this, eg. Subversion.  It has three problems:
it gives a verbatim text (eg. no translations, can't fix or remove the URL
if it becomes outdated); requires it in the "end-user documentation", which
I believe is stronger than the X11 license's "supporting documentation"; and
it accumulates, if code is used from several projects with this type of clause.
(The "alternatively" lessens the "end-user documentation" problem, but only if
there's a place for acknowledgments--there may not be, eg. on embedded devices.)

However, I havn't seen anybody claiming that this is non-free and filing bugs
to that effect; only that it's ugly.

Any exception for this should be careful; some would try to require inclusion
of a full page of funding and sponsorship credits, for example.

4. j: "Specific exception for GPL #2(c)"

A note that this does not apply to verbatim statements may be appropriate.

> 5B:
> ..."A free license cannot require that the user notices the author prior
> to..."

Did you mean to suggest s/notices/notify/?

> 5C:
> "A free license cannot require that the user takes any explicit action to
> express agreements to its terms - even trivial actions such as clicking on
> OK buttons."
> Add clarification:
> (The license can specify that exercising the rights granted by the license,
> absent alternative permissions, will be interpreted as acceptance of the
> license.)

A nitpick: does "rights granted by the license" include grants of rights that
users have anyway?  For example, if a license includes an explicit "right to
use", is "use of this software constitutes acceptance" acceptable?  That's
a silly clause--users don't need to accept the license to use it, and
distributors--who do need to accept it--may never actually use it.  I'm
pretty sure we're seen it here, though.

Here's an odd one:

  WARNING: Retrieving the OpenVision Kerberos Administration system
  source code, as described below, indicates your acceptance of the
  following terms.  If you do not agree to the following terms, do not
  retrieve the OpenVision Kerberos administration system.

(I don't see "retrieving" described anywhere, though--the word isn't
used anywhere else in the file.)

Glenn Maynard

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