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Re: Is Debian going to support Sincere Choice?

On Tue, 2002-09-10 at 19:30, Gustavo Noronha Silva wrote:
> Em Tue, 10 Sep 2002 13:46:57 +0300, Richard Braakman <dark@xs4all.nl> escreveu:

> > their policies" is deprecated here?  If I say, "I will only work for
> > organizations that endorse free software", would I be in conflict with
> > this article?
> You are an individual, you have the freedom to set your own policy
> 'only work with free software'... what you cannot do is enforce this
> on the company... you may get out of that company because it doesn't
> fit your policy, but you cannot user unfair play moves to make it
> adopt your policy.

And what would be an unfair move? Sneakily waiting until I'm the chief
of software engeneering of the company and then forcing my policy on the
company? Wait, but by then, I'm legally in a position where I may decide
the policy of the company...

I don't think they really thought through what they wrote.

.Open Standards
.Intercommunication and file formats should follow standards that are.
.sincerely open for all to implement, without royalty fees or.

Why only intercommunication and file formats? Why not also UI design and
library APIs (APIs could technically be intercomm, but I usually don't
think of APIs when hearing that term). And why standards?
Standardisation is good, open standards even better, but open usually
suffices - new things are rarely standardised in the beginning...

.Choice Through Interoperability
.No user should be required to use a particular product simply because
.other users do. Competing products should interoperate with each other
.through open standards.

Isn't this basically the same as 'Open Standards'? The first sentence is
just a consequence, and the second one repeats the earlier statement.

.Competition by Merit
.Software vendors should compete fairly on the merit of their products,
.rather than by attempting to lock each other's products out of the

What is 'compete fairly'? Getting users to use my product, and not
another, is what competition is all about. That they wish this to happen
on a 'equal chances for all' principle is what the first two points are
about, so I can't see anything knew, again.

.Research Availability
.The people pay for government-funded research, its fruits should be
.available to all of them equally. We promote Open Source / Free
.Software licensing as a means of distributing research results fairly.

Ok, Agree here, this is a good idea. Would any (the) member of this
initiative really reject a governement job where they'd have to do some
further research on their up to now proprietary part of their software?

But again: for expressing the goal of such an initiative, I would avoid
the word 'fair' at all cost, it's just too hard to define properly.

.Range of Copyright Policies
.We support a broad range of copyright policies, from Public Domain
.through Open Source and Free Software to Proprietary. We support use of
.the GPL and LGPL licenses when appropriate. We assert that Open Source
.and Proprietary models can be used together effectively. A number of
.our companies deploy software under the GPL license and proprietary
.software in the same product.

I haven't read more than these introductory statements, I confess, so
I'll assume that they define the terms PD, OS, FS and Prop. Why, when
they say they support OS and FS, do they need to explicitely mention GPL
and LGPL here?

The main point here is that they claim that open and closed products can
be successfully combined - fully agree here. But I can't really see what
this statement is doing here - it seems to me they want to avoid the
notion that free software is 'better', somehow. But if sow, why this
initiative at all? Because they want to give vendors of (partly)
proprietary software the opportunity to associate with the term
'Free/Open Software'?

.Freedom to Set Policy
.Individual users, businesses, and government should all be free to set
.their own policies regarding what sorts of software they will acquire
.and use. They should not force their policies upon others.

Much has been written before on this...

Hmmm. I can't find where they define what they mean by Open Source and
Free Software. Bad.

I really like their site licence:

.You may reproduce and redistribute this text. You may modify it as
.necessary to translate it and format it for your presentation. You may
.not change the content in a way that would change or misrepresent the
.political opinions it conveys.

 - there's no statement what applies to changes that do not change or
misrepresent the political opinion it conves. What does that mean? That
I may not make such changes (which would make the whole last sentence
obsolete) or that I may make such changes (which would probably require
it to be said explicitly, and would also make the first sentence look
silly as it's really included).
 - translatios are not really 'changes' to document, imho. Oh, well,
minor point.
 - I'd not want be the one to judge wether a change is misrepresenting
or changing the political opinion of the text!

Of course, IANAL, but I think that licences and other legal texts should
be understandable by normal humans (btw, I read that the EU government
has started an effort to make regulations understandable, with help of
the person from Switzerland who has been doing this for years here)

-- vbi

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