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Re: could you safely rewrite the DFSG requirement?

On Mon, Feb 18, 2002 at 11:43:01AM +0100, Sven wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 14, 2002 at 09:27:05AM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> > Sven <luther@dpt-info.u-strasbg.fr> writes:

> > > Well, this may well fgollow the letter of what is written, but in no way the
> > > spirit of it.

> > The "spirit" of it?  The "spirit" of it?  Puhleez.

> > The DFSG's spirit is given by the customary interpretations on
> > debian-legal and the history of how it has been used.  Not by you
> > insisting, first, that we must be very literal, and then, when it
> > turns out the very literal meaning isn't what you want, insisting that
> > instead we shouldn't be so literal.

> > The actual "spirit" of the requirement is to pretty much ignore the
> > aggregation qualification entirely.  You didn't like that, so I showed
> > how taking the qualification literally amounts to very close to the
> > same thing.

> Again, if it is going to be ignored anyway, why not remove it.

> The rest is just play with words and other nonsense that is used for
> justification.

I understand the intent to be that the DFSG requires that a work MUST
be freely distributable when aggregated with other works.  If you take 
this section out, then it's possible for a work to pass the DFSG with a
license that impairs our ability to redistribute it.

If anything, the problem with the DFSG is that it doesn't explicitly
make all of the same requirements of a work when distributed alone.

  The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party from 
  selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate 
  software distribution containing programs from several different 
  sources. The license may not require a royalty or other fee for such 

Even more problematic (to bring up an old flamewar) is that the DFSG is 
specifically worded in terms of software; so a book by O'Reilly whose 
license allows it to be redistributed with a collection of software, but 
NOT with a collection of other documentation, would -technically- be 
DFSG-compliant.  However, I can't see how this would be in keeping with 
the spirit of the DFSG.

> But, i will make a proposal for the DFSG to be ammended so as to remove the
> aggregation clause, or at least clearly state that we consider a null or
> almost null aggregation ok.

It would have to be the other way around; to state that even trivial 
aggregations MUST be allowed by the license.  Nitpicking a license, only 
to leave ourselves unable to distribute part of our own 'approved' 
archive, is no win. :)

But I definitely agree with you that some action needs to be taken on 
the documentation-as-software question.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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