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Re: PROPOSED: the Dictator Test (was: Contractual requirements

On Thu, Jul 01, 2004 at 02:40:01AM -0600, Joe Moore wrote:
> > On 2004-06-30 23:05:08 +0100 Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org>
> >> We should come up with a name for this test.  Maybe the "Autocrat
> >> Test"
> >> or the "Dictator Test"?  The copyright (or patent, or trademark)
> >> holder
> >> does not get to make up his or her own laws?
> The Ideocrat Test?  Or perhaps Egocrat?

Heh, the latter will attract the attention of Objectivists...which is
almost never desirable.  ;-)

> Autocrat or dictator make it sound like there's a legitimate (i.e.
> government) third party imposing conditions on the software.

It does?  Where I come from, "autocrat" and "dictator" are terms of

Well, with certain exceptions[1].  :(

> Also, this could classify licensors who unilaterally change the meaning of
> words of phrasing in a normally-acceptable sofware license, such as
> "permission to modify and distribute" != permission to distribute
> modifications.

I don't think we need the Dictator Test to dispose of that case.  If the
license doesn't give people the freedoms required by the DFSG, then it's a
straight-up DFSG violation.

As I understand, the purpose of our tests is to make it easier to discern
when DFSG violations are taking place.  I would hope that even those who
are heavily critical of debian-legal could understand "no, you don't have
permission to distribute modified copies" as a violation of DFSG 3.

However, given recent events and incendiary rhetoric on the -vote list, I'm
not sure my hope is all that well-founded.  :(

[1] "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so
     long as I'm the dictator." -- George W. Bush, 2000-12-18,

G. Branden Robinson                |    Somewhere, there is a .sig so funny
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    that reading it will cause an
branden@debian.org                 |    aneurysm.  This is not that .sig.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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