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Re: An amendment (Re: Formal CFV: General Resolution to Abolish Non-Free)

On Jul 26, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Brian Mays <brian@debian.org> writes:
> > Surely you do not believe this, do you?  There will ALWAYS be useful
> > software (at least, useful to someone) with licenses that fail our
> > somewhat arbitrary criteria for what we consider to be free.
> Does the phrase "somewhat arbitrary" denote your respect for and
> agreement with the DFSG?

They are somewhat arbitary in the sense that they reflect what the
vast majority of Debian developers think is "free", and our definition
of free is disputable (and arbitary).  Witness the inevitable "who do
they think they are, being the arbiters of freeness" discussions.

Ex: some people include licensing terms like "you can't use this
program to make nuclear weapons".  Never mind that your average
tactical nuke doesn't need to run an MUA and 99% of the other software
these licenses seem to apply to, but that's beside the point ;-) The
author could argue you are free to use it except for reasons the
author finds morally objectionable (running Gore for Prez 2000 might
be objectionable to a pro-lifer, for example).  The DFSG takes the
sensible course of not permitting such clauses (and their
more-often-onerous cousins, like "you may charge no fee for
distribution"), but you could argue its freeness either way and be
morally right.

In sum, the DFSG is a codification of a consensus among developers
that existed when it was written.  Frankly, I don't think it matters
whether you agree or disagree with them, so long as you only upload
software to main and contrib that complies with the guidelines.  Call
me a heritic, but I'm from the L&LL (live & let live) school ;-)

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