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Re: DRAFT: debian-legal summary of the QPL

* Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> [040716 02:24]:
> And yes, arguments can be made that some of the GPL requirements
> similarly deter contribution under certain circumstances.  The difference
> seems to be quantitative, not qualitative; the GPL sought to achieve a
> balance point between the rights of users(/modifiers) and those of
> authors, and I believe our efforts to draw the non-free line for Debian
> must be informed by this same principle.

I think there is also some qualitative difference. We are discussing
from the point of view of free software, i.e. that the one having a
program has its source and the rights to use[1] it, in the sense to
run it, to understand it, to modify it, to adapt it, to translate it, 
to make poems out of it and to give it to others and allow them the same.

This is the basis we are discussing, thus any of those bogus arguments
"it discrimates against people who want to give out only binaries" are
simply not applicable.

For example writing software for money and giving your client - and only
your client - all the source code and all the rights stated is clearly
ethical behaviour in this regard (not altruistic perhaps, but
that's another point). Anyone having the program has its
source and the rights. Noone is forced to choke on a program he would
be techically able to correct but is not allowed by not having source or

It is also often the case that you cannot perform anything you would
want to. It may be impossible or not allowed by law.
Law might not allow you to send specific types programs to
countries your goverment does not like, but it might also cause
some actions to become risky like publishing untested code by voiding
all warranty disclaimers for that case. In the most extreme we have
the desert island and dissident tests to highlight theese kind of
problems, that some restriction take away the freedom to use the
software at all, while not doing anything wrong in the sense of limiting
other peoples freedom. Thus highlighting how such restrictions are
non-free. And of course they are getting absurd when used outside
of the context we are talking about, that noone is limited in his
freedoms by disallowing him artifically to use the software on his

  Bernhard R. Link

[1] here (and later in this text) not used in the sense of 
    "use" vs "modify" and "distribute", but as general verb. 
    People knowing more English are free to suggest me a better word.

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