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Re: Suggestions of David Nusinow, was: RPSL and DFSG-compliance - choice of venue

On Wed, 2004-08-25 at 09:38 -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Matthew Garrett <mjg59@srcf.ucam.org> writes:

> > �"surprising modifications"?
> Modifications which surprise the copyright holder -- code reuse which
> he didn't expect.

I think you're being insufficiently imaginative about build systems.

> > There remains some amount of debate about whether the QPL is a free 
> > software license. I don't think disagreement over individual licenses is 
> > in itself a sign of extremism - I think the QPL is probably free, but 
> > close to the line.
> But I believe that several things that Debian accepts as free should
> be considered non-free.  That meets your stated definition of
> extremism.  Do you have a better one, or am I an extremist?

Disagreement over individual licenses isn't in itself extremism. Your
reasons for doing so may indicate extremism.

> My goal here is to convince you to stop labelling your opponents in
> reasoned discussion extremists and thus unworthy of debate.

My goal is to maintain Debian's standards of freedom at the point that
they are and where I believe they should be. You believe that those
standards should be in a different place. Given the fundamental
difference in viewpoint, I'm not convinced either of us is ever going to
convince the other of anything of significance.

> > If it could have gone either way, that suggests that the losers aren't
> > extremists. I think people who disagree with the DFSG (in either
> > direction) are probably extremists - there's enough room for different
> > interpretations and beliefs without actually having to disagree that
> > active disagreement suggests that your opinions are fairly extreme.
> But the DFSG is a compromise.  I would expect that most Debian
> developers probably think it's a hair too strict or too lose, if they
> think about it at all.  They're willing to accept it only because it
> *is* a compromise.

Exactly. It's a common standard of freedom that we all (theoretically)
agree to, despite it not necessarily being in exactly the right place
from a personal point of view. Except...

> I think that compromise is in the wrong place -- DFSG 4 was supposed
> to be a compromise with the rest of the world, but as far as I can see
> the rest of the world punted on that.  There isn't anybody using patch
> clauses to release free software -- djb's software is still in
> non-free and will stay there, and the La/TeX people have been great
> about the renaming/patch issue.

That's more than thinking that it's a hair too loose. Patch clauses
cause practical difficulty rather than philosophical difficulty. In that
respect they're similar to writing code in an obscure language. I'd
argue that writing code in Brainfuck is more of an impediment to freedom
than any patch clause.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59@srcf.ucam.org

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