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Re: Debian Weekly News - August 19th, 2003

On Sun, Aug 24, 2003 at 02:06:04AM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:

> Not only did you ignore my Mail-Followup-To header, to which I drew your
> attention in the very first line of my reply, but you mailed me a
> private copy of your message.

I always use "g" to respond to mailing list posts in mutt.  It has worked
fine before.  I have no idea why would be the exception (even if I hit "r",
it should still obey that header).  I'm runnting mutt 1.5.4 if it's anything
to you.  I do not regularly inspect the result of hitting that command
because I've not had any reason to doubt its accuracy.

> > The corrolary is that 0% of Debian is non-free software.  Documentation is
> > not software at all.
> I see you have not taken my advice to read the archives of debian-legal.
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00027.html
> "The Social Contract does not say: Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software
> and Some Other Things That Aren't Software But Which Are Also Free But
> Meet a Different Definition Of Free Than That Which Applies to Software,
> Plus Some Other Stuff That Isn't Free By Any Stretch Of The Imagination
> But Which We Thought Would Be Nice To Have."

Which is an interesting post indeed, though I think that particular quote is
taking things to an unwarranted extreme.

> > The mere fact that the social contract says that 100% of Debian is Free
> > Software does not magically make everything that is part of Debian
> > "software".  Just saying something is so is begging the question, and I am
> > getting tired of that game.
> I'm getting tired of the game that interprets:
> "This food product is 100% fat free."
> as:
> "The stuff that isn't fat in this food product is 100% fat-free, but the
> non-fat-free stuff might have fat in it."
> I'm also getting tired of having words put in my mouth.  I have at no
> time (and neither has any other opponent of different standards of
> freedom for documentation within the Debian Project, to my knowledge),
> asserted that "documentation *IS* software".  Please cease these
> fallacious straw man attacks.

Then I don't understand.  Why do you continue bringing up the "100% Free
Software" if not to assert that everything in Debian is Free Software, and
thus the DFSG applies?

> I'm also getting tired of you not familiarizing yourself with the
> voluminous past discussions of this subject.

Sifting through two or three years of debian-legal archives on this topic
especially is not something that is easily or quickly done/

> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00023.html
> "If it's not *Software* then either,
> 1) We must treat it as such, or;
> 2) We have no mandate to deal with it at all."

Well, the Social Contract doesn't specifically address it, but I'd say we
have a pretty clear idea of what we want to do anyway.

> Wow, look at that.  December 2001.  I wonder if people have talked about
> these issues while you weren't paying attention?

Quite possible (I've not been on debian-legal the entire time it existed),
and thanks for pointing it out,  However, there doesn't seem to have been a
conclusion reached.  For instance, there is this reply:


But, like Thomas, by this point I think it may be time to agree to disagree.

> > If you take Clause 1 of the Social Contract to mean that all software in
> > Debian is free, it makes a lot of sense to me, and does not itself remove
> > the moral requirement that documentation and other files are free as well.
> Everything we possibly can ensure to be Free in Debian must be Free.

Yup, I'd agree with that as a worthy goal.

> That means everything except legal notices (copyright notices, license
> terms, warranty disclaimers, and the like).

That too.

> We could do without that stuff as well, except we'd either expose
> ourselves to legal liability, or be left only with public domain
> materials.  Either would mean there wouldn't be a Debian Project for
> much longer.


> I guess at this point you can, if you like, argue that losing the GNU
> Emacs Manual, with its inseparable GNU Manifesto, would deal the Project
> an equally fatal blow.

That is not my argument, and as you are probably aware, I have agreed that
the GFDL is not a good license.

> > Not that I see that this whole discussion bears any relevance to the
> > DFSG/GFDL discussion.
> It's a discussion of the Social Contract, for which the correct forum is
> debian-project.

Fine, I don't care where the discussion is.

> This is not a technical discussion.  Please stop grandstanding on
> debian-devel.

I was not "grandstanding" anywhere, nor did I begin the thread in -devel.

I was responding to your post at
which among other things appeared to assert that everything in Debian is
software, and that I am "willing to compromise the freedoms of their fellow
developers and our users".  That I objected to strongly, as it is most
certainly not the case, nor has it ever been for me.

-- John

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