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Re: Authority and procedures of debian-legal

On Sun, Feb 06, 2005 at 05:53:05AM +1100, Glenn L McGrath wrote:
> Or it should be documents offically somwhere that debian-legal does have
> the authority to impose new restrictions at their discretion, and the
> wording of the social contract changed.

As has been explained, debian-legal is imposing no new restrictions.

> > 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.)
> I would expect you to claims its non-free because it discriminates
> against vegitarians.
> Clause 5+6 are so generic they are meaningless, I could equally argue
> that the GPL violates the DFSG because the GPL discriminates against GPL
> violators.
> Those clauses undermine any judgments based on the DFSG, and i think you
> should expect to come under fire if you use it as the strongest reason
> to rule something as non-free.

Now you're saying that very clearly non-free things like "eat rats", "pet a
cat", etc. "undermine any judgments based on the DFSG"?  That's nonsense.

If your arguments can't even handle these obviously extremely non-free cases,
then you really need to reevaluate them.

> > 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 restriction.
> But how do you proove a new restriction is acceptable...

Simple: convince people that the restriction is not onerous; that it can
not be used to attack people reusing the software (eg. by forcing them to
travel across the world to defend themselves against frivelous claims).
People have been doing this for a long time.  Consensus is not mysterious.

> I think if a licence has been accepted as complying with the Open Source
> Definition, then the burden of proof should be on on the people who want
> it excluded from debian.

The OSD has no bearing on Debian; the OSI has a very different (corporate)
philosophy of license evaluation, and a wildly different application of
a similar text, which is very inappropriate for Debian.  They treat the
DFSG as a "definition", rather than a set of guidelines, which means that
they're happy to call any horribly onerous restriction "open source".  It
renders their "certifications" worthless to anyone valuing freedom and
not merely getting Open Source a corporate foothold.

If you don't see the error of the OSD ("Definition") based on the the
DFSG ("Guidelines"), I'm not sure I can make it any clearer.

> After listening to what you say, i conclude that wether COV is DFSG free
> is very open to interpretation, i expected a more concrete reason.

How is "allows licensors to force licensees to travel across the world
at whim" anything but a concrete reason?

Glenn Maynard

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