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Re: A radical approach to rewriting the DFSG

On Sun, May 30, 2004 at 06:28:12AM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> I have been toying with the possibility of rewriting the DFSG such
> that it enumerates which things a free license *can* do, rather than
> just give examples of things it *cannot*. I think that such a revision
> could get the guidelines to be much closer to the *actual* practise of
> how we evaluate licenses than if we simply make local adjustments to
> the current DFSG. The downside is that the whole truth cannot be
> condensed into the "ten commandments" schema of the current DFSG.

I personally do not think it is a good idea to undertake this endeavor
as a DFSG replacement.

I explicated my "theory of DFSG" operation in a mail to this list in
March of 2003:


That said, I do very much appreciate your work in very methodically
documenting the many silly loopholes and exceptions we have accreted
over the years to due to our haste and carelesness -- and also the many
slick tricks licensors have tried to play to undermine the spirit of
free software while abiding by some expressions of its "letter".)

I think your document will end up being very valuable to us, but I
personally do not feel that its approach makes it suitable as a
replacement for the DFSG.

Please don't interpret anything in this message as a backhanded
compliment, though I am sure we probably disagree as to what the DFSG
should be.  It was obviously a lot of hard work to prepare this
document, and reading it was like a trip down the debian-legal flamewar
memory lane, with the outcomes neatly boiled down.

I think your work on this document is a valuable service to the Project.

G. Branden Robinson                |       Psychology is really biology.
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       Biology is really chemistry.
branden@debian.org                 |       Chemistry is really physics.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |       Physics is really math.

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