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Re: Debian Weekly News - August 19th, 2003

On Thu, Aug 28, 2003 at 01:36:50PM -0500, John Goerzen wrote:
> > http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2001/debian-legal-200112/msg00250.html
> I have no disagreement with that proposal on a practical level, so I'm not
> sure what there is that you want me to rebut.
> If you approach this from my perspective, where licenses are not software,
> this appears to be a strengthening to the DFSG.

Not to me.  If types of works don't have to be treated as "software",
then one wonders what types of works those are, and it seems easier to
carve out further exceptions to satisfy the desires of some pressure

> If you apprach this from the perspective that every bit in Debian is
> software, then this would appear to be weakening the DFSG by permitting an
> exception to its regular rules.

Not to me.  It's simply frank acknowledgement of a fact of life; we
*have* to ship this legal meta-data that accompanies most of our
software, or we have immediate and grave practical problems.

Furthermore, Bruce Perens has made it clear over on -legal that my
interpretative guideline is closer to the original intention of the

> Not that this is not a necessary exception if you hold that view, but it
> seems rather odd for us to say "Well yes, everything in Debian is software
> and the DFSG applies to it all... but wait, licenses are exempt from some
> provisions..."

It doesn't seem odd at all to me.  Legal texts are special.  We can't
"negotiate" with the law in the way that we can with software (or
documentation) authors.

The only way to negotiate with government power is from behind a wallet
or a gunsight.

G. Branden Robinson                |    Men use thought only to justify
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    their wrong doings, and speech only
branden@debian.org                 |    to conceal their thoughts.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Voltaire

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