Re: Authority and procedures of debian-legal
On Sun, Feb 06, 2005 at 04:06:32AM +1100, Glenn L McGrath wrote:
> On Sat, 5 Feb 2005 13:40:10 -0500
> Glenn Maynard <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > (I've already explained how this relates to the DFSG, despite the DFSG
> > not attempting to exhaustively list non-free restrictions.)
> I understand that the DFSG is a Guideline, those guidlines are
> open to interpretation, and debian legal is seen as the authoritive
> place to interperate the DFSG in new or changing conditions.
> An extract of clause 1 of the debian social contract states...
> "As there are many definitions of free software, we include the
> guidelines we use to determine if software is "free" below"
> For debian-legal to abide by Debians Social Contract, i think someone
> should be attempting to "exhaustively list non-free restrictions".
> I think a vote should be required, and the DFSG changed before
> debian-legal assumes the right to impose any new restrictions.
You're saying that Debian should maintain an exhaustive list of non-free
restrictions, that (presumably) adding to that list should be require a
GR, and that no restrictions not on that list should be considered "free"
until voted on.
That's a horrible concept. New non-free restrictions are appearing every
day; having to hold a vote for every new one would destroy Debian's ability
to remain Free. You're saying that Debian must allow a license that says
"you must eat three live rats before modifying this software", since
the DFSG doesn't mention rat-eating. (If you think otherwise, I'm very
interested to hear your explanation.)
Now, it may be reasonable to do the reverse: maintain a list of
restrictions which are considered Free, and require a vote to add to it.
People are constantly trying to find new ways to restrict users, so the
list of onerous restrictions grows every day, but it's much less common
that people come up with new Free restrictions. (Henning Makholm
proposed doing something like this, but he didn't propose it to have
authority--that is, to replace the DFSG--and I don't think such a thing
will ever happen, being too much of a change.)
New restrictions that we havn't dealt with before should be viewed as
non-free by default, and the burden of proof should be on the people
trying to restrict users in a new way to prove that it is an acceptable
And again, I'll point out that it's curious that, instead of arguing why
these restrictions should be allowed, you're instead screaming "you have
no authority, so it doesn't matter!" and refusing to discuss the real
topic. Do you actually care about the subject of choice of venue at all,
or are you just trying to undermine Debian's ability to reject onerous