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Re: DFSG conform OSI licenses



On Mon, 03 Sep 2007 20:56:23 +0200 Soeren Sonnenburg wrote:

[...]
> Anyway I below quote both the OSI open source definition and DFSG and
> as no one pointed me to any analysis on what could cause
> incompatibilities I am now just commenting on the parts below. In
> summary I think that the OSI's open source definition is in some
> points even more strict than the DFSG (e.g. 10. does not exist in
> debian) and thus I would expect most of the software coming under a
> open source license to be DFSG OK too.
[...]
> Therefore I fail to see why *any* program
> under satisfying OSI's 10 points on OSS is not DFSG conform and so I
> would claim any of the 60 OSI-OSS licenses is OK. Now please prove me
> wrong.

The main differences between Debian and OSI do not lie in the letter of
the DFSG and of the OSD.  The two sets of items are indeed similar.

The main differences are in the ways the two sets of items are
*interpreted* by the two organizations.
The Debian Project explicitly states that the DFSG are *guidelines* and
interprets them to decide whether a *package* is or is not Free
Software.
OSI based its OSD on the DFSG, but treats it as a *definition*, that is
to say, a set a *rules* whose letter, it seems, must be met, in order
for a *license* to be *approved* (OSI-certified) as Open Source.
However OSI has begun to interpret the OSD in such a relaxed way, that
it seems almost any license even vaguely resembling something acceptable
gets approved, sooner or later...
IMHO, the term "Open Source" has gradually become totally meaningless,
because of this we-certify-everything attitude of OSI (and, ironically,
because of the success that the very term gained: everyone now uses and
abuses the term "Open Source" to mean anything, just since it's a trendy
term...).

Now, what is worse is that I fear the Debian Project is following OSI's
steps down the same slippery slope.
Debian has begun stretching the DFSG and accepting stuff that IMO should
have never entered the main archive (GFDL-ed documents without
unmodifiable parts, CC-by-v3.0- and CC-by-sa-v3.0- licensed works, to
name but a few...).
My concern is that, sooner or later, even "accepted in Debian main" will
become meaningless (from a Freeness standpoint, I mean)...   :-(
And that makes me sad.


Disclaimers: IANADD, TINASOTODP.

-- 
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