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Re: flowc license

On Tue, Feb 15, 2005 at 11:56:17PM +0000, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Oh, I entirely agree. Clause 10 describes licenses that were considered
> free at the time that the DFSG were written, and so the DFSG should be
> interpreted in such a way that those licenses are free. It's difficult
> to make the argument that people were unaware of the practical issues
> with 4-clause BSD when the social contract was drawn up, so anything
> that suggests that it should be non-free is redefining our definition of
> freedom rather than demonstrating an increased understanding of the
> issues involved.

I can deal with the line of reasoning that says "the 4-clause BSD
license would be non-free, because forbidding anyone mentioning the
software in banner ads, etc. is insane, but due to its widespread use,
an exception was made for this license".  (It means that there should
be no fundamental issue with removing it from DFSG#10 with a GR some
day, once the license is no longer so prevelent as it was when the
DFSG was drafted.)

I do have problems with "forbidding mention of the software in banner
ads is horrible, but we have to consider the restriction "free" because
it's part of a license in DFSG#10, which trumps all else (and therefore
we must allow restrictions similar to it, such as an explicit "don't
mention the product in banner ads"--a trivial extrapolation from the
OAC, by my understanding of it.)

Of course, the question of whether DFSG#10 is a grandfather clause (the
former) or an interpretation guideline (the latter) is a long-standing
one which will probably never be resolved.  (I don't think it was
initially *intended* as either, since--by my far-from-first-hand
understanding--it wasn't even intended to be a clause.)

(And of course, it's likely that some people would consider such an explicit
restriction--not only "don't claim that we endorse you", which is fine,
but "don't advertise your use of our stuff", which is not--to be completely
acceptable; some people don't seem to mind heavily restricted software.
These people are likely to be in the "interpretation guideline" camp,
but not believe a problem exists.)

Glenn Maynard

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