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

On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 22:44:42 +0100 MJ Ray wrote:

> 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". Too much is being focused on these binary 
> distinctions and the interesting part is whether the ITP'd or P'd 
> software is free or non-free, really.

Well, it's true that the final judgement is on the freeness of software
/packages/ (that's the primary activity of debian-legal, isn't it?).

Anyway, IMHO, summaries of /license/ analyses are still useful.
Those summaries, when collected together, form a sort of vademecum for

a) someone willing to perform a first quick & rough freeness check on a
newly discovered piece of software (a more accurate review could be
needed, when someone actually willing to create a package is in doubt)

b) someone willing to choose a free license avoiding the ones which are
clearly non-free (those people would go and pick some OSI-approved or
FSF-approved license, if no such Debian list of licenses existed... and
realize that our criteria are different only when it's late)

c) the author(s) of a reviewed license willing to fix the issues that
debian-legal has with the license itself (without a list of license
summaries, they could never find out that their license has something to
be fixed)

d) someone willing to know the conclusions of debian-legal discussions
without having to actually follow *all* the long threads (debian-legal
is often quite verbose, and many people are not interested *that much*
in legal discussions, while they still need to know what has been

Moreover the summaries are good references that avoid us to explain
again and again why license L is clearly non-free.

             |  GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4 | You're compiling a program
  Francesco  |        Key fingerprint = | and, all of a sudden, boom!
     Poli    | C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12 |         -- from APT HOWTO,
             | 31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4 |             version 1.8.0

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