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Re: Validity of DFSG #10

On 13083 March 1977, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:

> Unfortunately, we are not doing a particularly good job at documenting
> our choices --- in particular: which licenses do we consider free ---
> and at explaining the rationales behind them.

One thing first: The question if we change DFSG and documenting what we
think is free (or not) are two entirely different things, and shouldn't
be mixed together.

I'm replying only to the documenting thing using my ftpmaster hat, the
DFSG§10 one is entirely seperate and doesn't really touch ftp* opinions.

> This has been discussed in various occasions. A recent one within the
> project is the question time of my talk at DebConf12 [1], thanks to
> input by Steve Langasek. But our flaws on this matter are being
> discussed also outside the project border; see for instance the
> interesting talk "The Tragedy of the Commons Gatekeepers" by Richard
> Fontana at LinuxCon North America last year [2,3].

> I agree with Richard that, modulo some notable exception like FTP
> masters' "ruling" about the Ubuntu Font License [4], we are not doing a
> good job at documenting and explaining our choices. The best
> approximations we have are either non-authoritative, or not maintained,
> or both. The net result is that by searching the web license names and
> Debian one will likely end up on debian-legal discussions, that are not
> the official project stance on license free-ness.

> 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, together with (pointers
> to) explanation of why it is so.  I'm quite sure the explanations do
> exist already, but we do need people that do the work of finding them
> and documenting them in a central place. For the place in itself, [5]
> would be perfectly fine, but needs to be turned in something
> authoritative (and maintained) as opposed to something that is only
> advisory.

The whole of ftp* agrees that it would be nice to have a place
documenting this. So much so that we started something for it in 2009,
see http://ftp-master.debian.org/licenses/ for it.

You might notice that it is not entirely uptodate. Or listing a lot of
it. What it is is a "hey, we could do it this way, here is how it can
look. And here is an ikiwiki instance in a git, check it out,
ftp*". That got it around 31 commits far, and then it "slept
in". It *is* entirely dull and non-fun and just boring work, with no
direct payoff (in NEW/rm you at least have that direct "payback" :) ).

That said, we would be happy to get it back to live and end up with it
(either where it is now or wherever fits) being a useful place. Seeing
how it directly touches us (decide if $foo can go into the archive and
be distributed or not), it certainly makes sense to have it within FTP*
overview. That said, it is clear it can't be the FTP Team who is doing
the work - the oh-so-recentness of it shows that it is a task that won't
get done. There is too much else for us and we are few people only.

But we would be happy to work with / lead / whatever-one-names it with a
group of volunteers together. Exact details of how that works out are to
be found, but im sure we can. If there are volunteers for it...

bye, Joerg
You're in good shape for being a Debian, with a SAP background
... anything has to look good from there...

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