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Re: Hacking License

Giacomo Tesio <giacomo@tesio.it> writes:

> thanks to the public and private advices that I received on the last
> version, I further improved the Hacking License.

Giacomo, I again ask you: please don't impose on the free software
community the burden of yet another roll-your-own license text.

We already have a minefield of difficult-to-predict interacting clauses
just with the *existing* license conditions that are well known.

Adding yet another set of conditions massively multiplies the potential
set of combinations, making it that much harder to determine whether a
given work is free software. Please realise that this is *not* a benefit
to the community.

> Does this license match the DFSG?

In my opinion:

* It is impossible to say with any confidence whether this set of
  conditions makes a work free or non-free, because so many of the
  clauses are too vague.

* It is needlessly burdeonsome to parse the text, because many terms are
  used in a highly idiosynratic way, and mislead the reader into
  thinking a term is being used with its traditional meaning when
  something quite different is meant instead.

Please do not keep iterating slight changes to this text and asking for
volunteers to spend effort combing through it. You know by now that you
can make your work free software by instead choosing an existing
well-known free software license, and save everyone a lot of pain.

We can spend volunteer, non-expert effort to try to find possible
corrections to be made for an existing software work. But that is on a
best-effort basis, hoping to reduce the barriers to software freedom.

You do yourself no favours in the free software community by trying to
get us to evaluate numerous iterations of a license that you have,
against all advice, written in the absence of trained legal
professionals, to add to the existing body of competing license texts.

> Would a package for my library so licensed be included in Debian?
> If not, why?

This forum can never tell you authoritatively the answer to whether a
work would be included in Debian, because this forum does not make those

As for “why”: If a work under this license text were submitted for
inclusion in Debian, I think it would be quite reasonable for the FTP
masters to reject it solely because the license text makes it too
difficult to determine whether the work is free or non-free.

You are asking to have specific clauses scrutinised and improved, and I
appreciate the desire for that. I think any such effort is misguided,
despite your evident good intentions. It will not improve software
freedom, for the reasons I have stated above.

With thanks for your desire to contribute free software to the world: I
ask you to choose a license text – such as the Expat license or Apache
License 2.0 or GNU GPLv3 – that is well-known to make a work free
software, and instead use that license for works you release.

 \       “To have the choice between proprietary software packages, is |
  `\      being able to choose your master. Freedom means not having a |
_o__)                        master.” —Richard M. Stallman, 2007-05-16 |
Ben Finney

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