Request for GR: clarifying the license text licensing / freeness issue
This is a proposed text for a GR. I can't actually propose a GR (not a
DD), so I request that someone else who cares propose it or a similar
---begin proposed GR---
That the DFSG shall be amended, by inserting at the end of clause 3, in italics:
(There is a special exception for the license texts and similar legal
documents associated with works in Debian; modifications and derived
works of these legal texts do not need to be allowed. This is a
compromise: the Debian group encourages authors of legal texts to
allow derived works.)
Debian is not in the business of shipping license texts; Debian does
so only because this is necessary in order to ship other material. Many
of these license texts do not have licenses allowing the
creation of derivative license texts; the GPL is a prominent example.
Without this exception, if the DFSG were followed literally, most
license texts could not be shipped in Debian and would have to be
shipped alongside Debian instead, which would be very annoying.
Historically, this exception has been an unwritten assumption; in most
discussions, this exception has been agreed on by everyone involved.
However, unwritten exceptions are not really a good idea.
It is more honest and straightforward to Debian's users to state the
exception outright. Also, it prevents people from using this exception
as an excuse to argue for other unwritten exceptions. It is better to
have all exceptions upfront, so that Debian's users know exactly what
they are getting.
However, Debian should encourage the licensing of license texts
so that derivative license texts are allowed. A license text which is a
slight modification of an existing license text is substantially easier
to analyse and deal with than a brand new license text.
---end proposed GR---