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Re: Rules for submitting licenses for review

On 22 Aug 2005 10:48:13 GMT MJ Ray wrote:

> Ricardo Gladwell <ricardo.gladwell@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On 19/08/05, Francesco Poli <frx@winstonsmith.info> wrote:
> > > But when the question is "is the GFDL a license suitable to
> > > release free documentation?" their answer is very different from
> > > our...  :-(
> We don't really have a shared concept of "free documentation" distinct
> from "free software" because the whole "how do I tell if this
> bitstream is documentation or program" debate is rather painful.

I'm definitely aware of that.
But when someone asks about "free documentation", most of us (at least
I...) think about "free software that can roughly be classified as
documentation (recalling that the classification inside software is made
up of blurred boundaries and overlapping concepts)".
FSF folks, instead, think about something different and distinct from
"free software [read: programs]".

That (at least partially) explains why debian-legal and FSF give
different answers...

OK, I'm going to try and be clearer...  :-(
If someone asks you "which license would you recommend for releasing
free documentation?", you understand what she's talking about and
suggest the same licenses you would recommend for free programs.
Even if we do not draw clear lines to distinguish programs,
documentation, images, and so forth, we *know* how to determine whether
some piece of documentation is free or not. We apply the same criteria
we would use for programs.
People at FSF apply different criteria to analyze programs and
And they reach different conclusions...

> > > * she chooses the license based on what she was recommended
> > > [...]
> Well, if she takes advice from one topic and mindlessly applies
> it to another, that's always going to be painful.

That's not what I'm talking about, AFAICS.
She takes, say, advice on which license is good for a tutorial, and then
*writes* a tutorial!

> Other forums
> may give bad advice for our use, but we may give bad advice for
> other uses.

OK, but the hypothetical user in question came to us first, maybe
because she was seeking good advice from a Debian standpoint.
We may give bad advice for other uses, but I think that, if we are here,
we are concerned about Debian uses...

Anyway, note that, in most cases, what we suggest is not considered
non-free by other groups. Simply more permissive than required...
For instance, FSF people consider acceptable to prevent users from
modifying or removing some "secondary" parts of a manual.
We instead think that this should not be done.
But FSF folks do *not* say that a manual *must* have unmodifiable and
unremovable parts in order to be "free". They simply say that it *may*
have them and be "free", as long as those parts are "secondary"...

> I don't suggest a blanket "go away" is healthy, but I'm really not
> sure what other forums are out there right now.

If someone wants to know whether something complies with the DFSG, I'm
having a bad time in thinking about any other 'forum' but

> You write there are few non-program packages. Do you know how few?

Not exactly. I've never counted them.
My *impression* is that we lack DFSG-free documentation for many topics,
while there's much non-free documentation under GFDL, CC-*, OPL, ...
See http://packages.debian.net/non-free-docs.html
The same holds for images, music, and so forth.

IOW, I feel that the lack of DFSG-free non-programs is more problematic
than the lack of DFSG-free programs.
At least because other groups push in different directions for
non-programs and promote licenses that do not comply with the DFSG...

    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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