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Re: Summaries in general, was: Summary Update: MPL ...

On Wed, Jun 23, 2004 at 10:44:42PM +0100, MJ Ray wrote:
> On 2004-06-23 19:12:41 +0100 Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org> 
> wrote:
> >We've got a lot of licenses like this. This is why we review packages,
> >not licenses.
> I see. Were you absent from the discussion earlier this year about 
> whether these summaries would be useful? Now that we've seen them in 
> action a few times, I feel that they are doing more harm than good 
> because they always seem to include "this is a free licence" or "this 
> is a non-free licence".

There exist some licenses which are more or less unambiguously
free. Not many. There exist plenty which are unambiguously
non-free. Lots of the licenses that appear in Debian are neither -
whether they are free or not depends on a range of factors about how
they are applied and interpreted, and what they are applied to.

In general, it's easy to say "This license is non-free (because...)" 
and extremely hard to say "This license is free"; the former is "there
exists at least one problem in all cases", while the latter is "there
can exist no problems in any cases".

When licenses appear, we usually try to at least broadly classify the
scenarios in which they would be free. For example, "this license is
broken wrt. patents; it is free for works with no applicable patents".

I'm not too impressed with the summaries to date, FWIW.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
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