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Re: Validity of DFSG #10

Hi Stefano,

On Sun, Jan 06, 2013 at 03:37:38PM +0100, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> So, sure, we could drop it. (Note that this isn't entirely trivial, as it
> will require a GR with a 3:1 majority, given that the DFSG is one of our
> foundation documents.)

I guess it's easy to get such 3:1 majority for this.

> But I doubt we will gain much in clarity by *only* doing that. We need an
> extra step: an authoritative and maintained lists of licenses that the Debian
> Project considers free.  (...) Bottom line: I'd be very much in favor of
> dropping DFSG §10 as long as we replace it with a (pointer to a) place where
> we maintain an authoritative list of licenses we consider free, (...)

I agree that it would be nice to have an authoritative and maintained list of
verified DFSG-free licenses.

But we should keep the DFSG and the list strictly separate.  If not, we would
need a 3:1 majority on every change of the list, or we would be giving the list
maintainers the authority to in fact change the DFSG without 3:1 majority.  In
my opinion the DFSG should not even mention the existence of the list (so no
"pointer"), to prevent any possible interpretation like "this license is DFSG
because it's on the list and the DFSG state that the list is authoritative".

How to do the GR to drop DFSG #10 is clear.  It's a matter of following
existing procedures.

How would you organize setting up an authoritative and maintained list of
verified DFSG-free licenses ? Which formal steps would need to be completed
before an additional license or license version would be added to the list ?
How to deal with mistakes on the list ? Do we have sufficient volunteers with
sufficient legal knowledge to maintain such list ? Maybe this part should be
dealt with further on debian-legal.


Bart Martens

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