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Re: Licenses for DebConf6

On Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 08:00:55AM -0500, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> 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,

Of course, within Debian DFSG-freeness isn't mandatory or enforced: you
can upload to non-free instead of main just by tweaking your control file.

And that lack of compulsion, coupled with a fairly strong endorsement
of DFSG-free content has resulted in DFSG-free software making up 98%
of unstable.

> 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.

The hard part isn't finding the people, it's convincing them that a
DFSG-free license is best. That's why pine and qmail remain in non-free
even though we know exactly who their authors are. Or, for that matter,
most of RMS's writings are still licensed in a non-DFSG-free manner.

> > 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:

No, it's not. In this case, I'd much rather be in a position where I
can argue for making things DFSG-free when I can see enough specifics
to think of good reasons why that woul dbe okay, and remain silent in
the cases where I don't think that's a win.

I don't think remaining silent when people are being pressured to do
things that don't seem right is a good option though, so instead I find
myself arguing against the DFSG.

> in the optional
> case, the people who think all of the papers should be free will debate
> the cases that weren't; 

I don't believe I've seen anyone debate my use of the (aiui) non-DFSG-free
CC ShareAlike/Attrib clause on my debbugs paper this year.

There's no actual requirement for debate there either, the people who
want to license their paper in non-DFSG-free way can happily leave the
last word to the DFSG advocates because they don't have to debate to get
their way; and the advocacy and arguments about the DFSG are more likely
to have a long term effect than the license on any paper presented at
a conference.

> and in the compulsory case, the people who think
> papers shouldn't have to be free will debate theirs.

Which, to my mind, means it's a real, substantive win to not give people
any reason to make this argument. 

At the very least, I'm getting really tired of having to have my desire
for tolerance of other people's choices and individual freedoms trump
my desire to argue for the DFSG freedoms everywhere.


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