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Re: Request for GR: clarifying the license text licensing / freeness issue

>Nathanael Nerode <neroden@fastmail.fm> wrote: [...]
>> 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.

MJ Ray wrote:
>Most?  I thought most licence texts were covered by themselves, being
>shipped as part of the software,
You're correct; although that is implicit permission, not explicit.  I 
was wrong; "most" is incorrect.  That should be fixed. How about 
"Several important license texts"?

> but we can't modify the ones shipped
>in debian because we need to accurately pass on the permissions given
>to users.
Right.  I was very careful with my proposed text: the emphasis on 
derivative works makes it clear that it's the ability to create new
license texts which is important here.

>AFAIK, the few which have different terms for modifying the licence
>rather than the rest of the software (such as the GPL) come with 
>explicit permission to modify.

Here, you're *wrong*.  The preamble to the GPL must be included with all
copies -- but the separate permission to modify does not extend to the 
preamble.  Likewise the LGPL.  The Academic Free License does not have 
permission to modify.  The LaTeX Project Public License does not have 
permission to modify.

>> Historically, this exception has been an unwritten assumption; [...]

>Has it?  I've seen a few people write down this assumption, but I've
>usually disagreed with them.
There you go, Wouter.  :-)

>We don't need this exception.  It would allow another way for people
>to argue for including non-free software in debian ('but it's part of
>the licence'), just like some use the current non-free logo licences
>to argue for inclusion of their non-free logos.

We've already *got* non-free software in Debian, namely the license 
texts above.  In fact people are already arguing exactly what you said.  
This would simply be more honest about it.

Care to craft another solution?  I don't think we actually want to go to 
the trouble of kicking those license texts out. (If however you'd like 
to devise a technical scheme for detached licenses, living alongside
the .debs and .tar.gzs rather than in them, that would be great.  It
would also require a change to policy, of course.)

I also think (from experience) that it's going to be a very long slog to 
get the license text licenses changed (commentary on this is in the 
GPLv3 comments system but being ignored), and that the opinion of Debian
that they should be changed, as expressed in the DFSG, would help with 

The current situation is dishonest (or, to be polite, "misleading") to 
Debian's users, and it should be  fixed.  I have proposed a compromise 
which I consider akin to the patch clause compromise.

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