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Re: "dissident test" has been proven wrong and should not be used any more

On Mon, 24 Sep 2012 22:04:22 +0900 Osamu Aoki wrote:

> On Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 09:18:42AM +0900, Charles Plessy wrote:
> > I think that the "dissident test" and others are indirectly mentionned to
> > everyone who wants to join Debian:
> > 
> > http://anonscm.debian.org/viewvc/nm/trunk/nm-templates/nm_pp1.txt?revision=1246&view=markup
> > 
> > 60 	PH7. How do you check if a license is DFSG-compatible?
> > 61 	
> > 62 	PH8. There are a few "tests" for this purpose, based on (not really) common
> > 63 	situations. Explain them to me and point out which common problems can
> > 64 	be discovered by them.
> Agh ... who added this ... test should be done only to DFSG.  The
> proposed "dissident test" does not work and is proven to be wrong in
> some cases already.

I disagree: the dissident test was not proven wrong.
It is a thought experiment helping to spot non-free restrictions, and
it is grounded in DFSG #1 and #5. 

> > I do not find these tests particularly useful, but as long as they are promoted
> > this way, we are likely to see people using them on this lit.
> Some people (Henning Makholm et al.) were on debian-legal around 2003
> using this "dissident tests" to shoot down many non-GLP/BSD licenced
> packages.  Please note some of the casualities such as ipadic were later
> accepted to Debian main with some efforts.
>   http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=641070
>   http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2011/09/msg00010.html
> I hope my summary page gives good idea what has been. 
>   http://wiki.debian.org/IpadicLicense

I think that your analysis is flawed.

The Ipadic license indeed includes an ambiguous clause: "which is
distributed substantially in the same form as set out herein".
This part of the license could be interpreted as a non-free restriction
on modification failing DFSG#3, or as just a qualifier for the types of
distributions that require the attachment of the "NO WARRANTY" section.
I think that having such an ambiguity in a license is a lawyer-bomb and
I feel very uncomfortable with such a clause in a package distributed
in main.

But the other issue is definitely worse:

| such intended
| distribution, if actually made, will neither violate or otherwise
| contravene any of the laws and regulations of the countries having
| jurisdiction over the User or the intended distribution itself

This is non-free, as already explained by Steve Langasek in

Your counter-arguments are flawed, IMHO:

 * the dissident test is not about impossible notification requirements
(maybe you are confusing it with the desert island test?)

 * section 7 of the GNU GPL v2 does not discriminate against persons or
groups of persons: it does not impose anyone to comply with laws *as a
condition for the permission grant*; it merely says that other
conflicting legal obligations do not excuse the licensee from the
conditions of the license; this is completely different

 * the rant about Che Guevara is very confusing and I think it fails to
make any useful point

 * I have many doubts on the acceptability of the CPL v1.0, hence
seeing its presence in main proposed as a reason to accept other
dubious or non-free software into main strikes me as very unfortunate

 * what RedHat does (or does not do) seems to be of little relevance,
when one has to evaluate whether a package belongs in Debian main 

> As I noted there, such extreme interpretation of license text can yield
> GPL2.0 to violate DFSG #5.

I repeat: this is not the case!

> > If you think they create more noise than signal, perhaps you or others can
> > consider asking for a change to the NM templates via a bug reported to
> > nm.debian.org.
> I agree.
> I think we should clean some wiki-pages holding such extreme positions.

I instead think that the wiki page that you created holds misguided
positions and wrong interpretations.

The fact that the FTP-masters accepted ipadic into main does not
impress me much: as far as I can tell, the FTP-masters have gradually
become looser and looser in abiding by the Debian Social Contract and
in properly checking packages for DFSG-freeness.
Unfortunately, I should add...

 New GnuPG key, see the transition document!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == CA01 1147 9CD2 EFDF FB82  3925 3E1C 27E1 1F69 BFFE

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