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Re: Choice of venue, was: GUADEC report

Matthew Garrett <mgarrett@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:
> We shouldn't be worried about freedom from a philosophical masturbation
> perspective. We should be worried about freedom because it has real,
> practical effects on what people can do with the software we ship.
> Theoretical limitations that have no real practical impact on our users
> should not be items of concern. How many times have license termination
> clauses been used against free software authors? How many times have
> patents been used against free software authors? Which of these is
> worse? Which of these do we put up with?

I agree wholeheartedly.  Let me add that in addition:

What is the significance of debian-legal masturbating around and
proclaiming that some license is or is not free?  It does not mean that
a real lawyer would consider it non-free even in theory (not that
lawyers agree to begin with!).  And of course it doesn't mean that users
relying on the license will be free from legal hassle, because they
can't avoid legal hassle even if they use no software at all and cower
in a corner of their room for their entire existence.  So what exactly
are we aiming for?  What does it even make sense to aim for?

I suggest that in the vast majority of cases it is clear when a license
is free in a practical sense.  MPL has obscure clauses that bother
some debian-legal extremists, but in practice, MPL meets the goals of
DFSG excellently.

Currently we seem to be rejecting a license based on any conceivable
legal disaster, but that is silly because no one is safe.


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