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Re: GR proposal: GFDL with no Invariant Sections is free

On Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 04:22:01PM +0400, olive wrote:
olive> Nathanael Nerode wrote:
olive> >"olive" <olive.lin@versateladsl.be> wrote:
olive> >
olive> >>I personnaly think that Debian would do better to defend free software if 
olive> >
olive> >there were in accordance to the FSF.
olive> >
olive> >I personally think that the FSF would do much, much better at defending 
olive> >free software if they operated in accordance with Debian.  Debian-legal 
olive> >has proved better at guaranteeing the FSF's 'four freedoms' in practice 
olive> >than RMS, what with the GFDL and all.
olive> It's true that I find the GFDL not "ideal" (which in my opinion is 
olive> different from non-free) and it is a shame that it has been adopted by 
olive> the FSF. However it is not because another person have done a mistake 
olive> that it become an excuse to do the same thing. On the last years, Debian 
olive> have had a tendency to declare non-free license that are declared free 
olive> or open source by everyone else and I think it will lose its credibility 
olive> if it continues on this way. Both the FSF and the opensource movement 
olive> have understood the difference between non-ideal and non-free license 
olive> but Debian apprently did not.

Without taking a stance on the GFDL issue, I agree with the fact that
Debian should be cautious not to go to far in it's assessment of
licenses. In my view, a license can be free and yet not ideal, the two
are different. And I feel that Debian should focus on freeness,
not perfection. To me, copylefted licenses are better than non
copylefted ones because they do more to advance the cause of free
software, but it would be ludicrous to consider non copylefted
licenses as non-free. Olive has a good point.

olive> >Let's face it: the FSF didn't create a full free-software system.  Debian 
olive> >did.
olive> Debian mainly package software done by others. There is few if any 
olive> software copyrighted by Debian. To say that Debian "create" an operating 
olive> system is greatly exagerated. Although this packaging is important and 
olive> make the software more accessible; it is not in my view the most 
olive> important thing. I could, with some effort, install Linux from scratch 
olive> myself but I would be totally unable to reprogram all the GNU software. 
olive> This is true however that FSF leadership can be discussed since there 
olive> are many important softwares on a typical GNU/Linux distribution are not 
olive> from GNU (xorg, KDE, Linux, etc...).

Again, I agree. Debian has done a great job, and is one of the major
players of the free software community, and the world would be much worse
off without it. But let's not get carried away and overestimate it's
importance either. It is not the only one to have made a free system.


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