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

On Wed, 2004-08-25 at 17:30 -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> Matthew Garrett <mjg59@srcf.ucam.org> writes:
> > No, I don't think debian-legal /is/ the right place. Debian-legal is the
> > place to discuss whether a license is free or not based on Debian's
> > ideas of freeness, not whether Debian's ideas of freeness are correct.
> > There may not be a more appropriate place at present. That doesn't make
> > the use of debian-legal appropriate.
> Do you actually have any authority to make that proclamation, or is it
> just as much wishful thinking as my statement that this is an
> appropriate place?

The word "think" is significant here.

> > You believe that there are some languages that are inherently
> > non-free?
> No, I believe some sourceless programs are inherently non-free.  If
> they're not practically modifiable, then they can't be free software.

What if they are practically modifiable, but only by a small set of

> > I'm still waiting to hear an example of something that patch clauses
> > actually make impossible.
> Well, let's say I have a program written in some interpreted
> language.  Now I can't distribute it in usable form.

Of course you can. Include a wrapper application that patches it at

> Also, I can't combine two programs which each specify that their
> source must be distributed pristinely, using only patches and diffs to
> indicate modifications.  I could ship the two pristine source files,
> but now I need to specify my program as some combinator function.
> That's not practical.

Write a small application that turns source code A into a diff that can
be applied against source code B.

> The only thing I can practically do with such code is make
> modifications that fit within its originally intended general purpose.
> I certainly can't excerpt an interesting algorithm implementation and
> use it elsewhere.

Sure you can. It's wasteful in terms of the amount of storage space
used, but it's entirely possible.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59@srcf.ucam.org

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