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No restrictions on use (was Re: JRockit in non-free, part II)

On Fri, 2004-08-10 at 14:33 +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:

> In fact, the consensus interpretation of the DFSG is that a license
> that requires users to agree legally to *anything* just for being
> allowed to *use* the software, is not DFSG-free. 

I think you mean that the consensus definition of freedom includes no
restrictions on use. I _don't_ think that "no restrictions on use"
follows directly or indirectly from the DFSG as stated -- at least, I
haven't seen an argument to that effect.

I _believe_ that our policy on restrictions on use comes from the fact
that a copyright holder has limited rights to control other people's use
of the work. Except for redistribution, replication, and creation of
derivative works, it's not up to the copyright holder to say what I can
do with a book, a painting, or a piece of software. So, any license that
claims to have authority over other uses is non-free.

Now, that all said: I wonder if there's a good reason _not_ to add a "no
restrictions on use" clause to the DFSG. Yes, I realize that the DFSG
are not the be-all and end-all of freedom; I also realize that the DFSG
should not be modified unnecessarily.

But this issue comes up often enough that it would be worthwhile to make
the policy explicit. At the very least, it would save a lot of


Evan Prodromou <evan@debian.org>

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