Re: about: Debian Free Software Guidelines
On Thu, Jun 07, 2001 at 08:31:48AM -0600, Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier wrote
> On Thu, 7 Jun 2001, Marco Herrn wrote:
> > On Thu, Jun 07, 2001 at 02:53:08PM +0200, Peter Palfrader wrote:
> > > > In german, "darf nicht" means: "is not allowed to" whereas
> > > > in english, "may not" is more like "is allowed to not ..."
> > > > conversely, the english "must not" is stronger than the german "muss nicht".
> > >
> > > Are you sure you're not confusing 'need not' and 'may not'?
> > > In my opinion 'may not' is the same as 'must not'. (as in 'darf nicht')
> > >
> > > need not - is allowed to not - muss nicht
> Nifty, a discussion of English grammar and usage - finally,
> something I feel totally competent in! :)
> This should probably be " - is allowed not to" rather than
> " - is allowed to not" which is an awkward construction in
> > > may not, must not - is not allowed to - darf nicht
> > I think Peter is right.
> > Maybe a native english speaker can tell us what is correct.
> In this context, "must" should probably be
> used because "must" is typically used in law and policy.
> If I recall correctly, "must" is the term typically used in
> RFCs to indicate something a program must do or must not do.
> In spoken English they're interchanged pretty freely, but
> in this case "must" is more correct.
> "May not do x" doesn't mean "is allowed to not do x"
> it means that permission is not given to do x. Since we're
> talking about policy an guidelines, though, "must" is more
> Hope this helps - English is probably the most confusing
> language to learn as a non-native speaker. The only
> inviolable rule in the English language is that there
> are no inviolable rules...
For clarity, and in view of the uncertainty that appears
to exist in some minds, it should probably be changed
to 'must not'; the use of 'may' is ambiguous and must be
resolved by context, so using it here *may not* convey
the intended meaning.
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