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Re: Licenses for DebConf6

On Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 03:26:58PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> Why fight at all? If having a free license is so obviously correct, why
> force people to do it? If some people are uncomfortable with it, why
> fight that?

Even within Debian, it's become clear to me that, if we want DFSG-free
things, it has to be mandatory and enforced, since there are people in
Debian who care about the "create a good operating system" part, but
less about the "create a free operating system" detail[1].

My point was that this isn't a big fight: these are papers, typically
written by one person, who is probably in all cases immediately, easily
contactable; not software with dozens of copyright holders, or written
by companies feeling their commercial interests threatened.  Compared
to the battles underlying a lot of attempts to get free licenses, this
is easy.

I don't mean that it's "obviously correct" in the sense that people
will do it anyway or agree without a debate.  Both the "documentation
should be free" threads and the firmware threads, among others, have
shown me that no matter how obvious it may seem to me that something
should be free, people will disagree.  :)

> BTW, a question: if you say "you must make your stuff DFSG-free",
> aren't you inspiring debate from people who don't want to, or who aren't
> comfortable with that, on why the DFSG isn't appropriate? If you made it
> optional or encouraged instead of compulsory, wouldn't that encourage
> debate on why the DFSG is good in the specific instances where people
> choose not to use free licenses? Wouldn't that be better?

All it's doing is shifting who has to start the debate: in the optional
case, the people who think all of the papers should be free will debate
the cases that weren't; and in the compulsory case, the people who think
papers shouldn't have to be free will debate theirs.

Both of these are after the fact.  What should happen is what is happening:
debate the issue in advance, and make a decision based on that.

[1] To be clear, I'm not thinking of anyone in this conversation.

Glenn Maynard

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