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Re: Validity of DFSG #10

On Mon, Jan 07, 2013 at 02:16:59PM +0000, Ian Jackson wrote:
> I found a report of Richard Fontana's talk here:
>   http://lwn.net/Articles/516896/

Oh, thanks, I forgot about that one.

> > […] we are not doing a good job at documenting and explaining our
> > choices […]
> This is unfortunate.  But it's not true to say that the FTP masters
> have the final say.  The Developers have the final say by General
> Resolution and have exercised that power on multiple occasions
> including most of the most controversial licensing decisions.
> That's an open, transparent democratic and community-based process
> which OSI and the FSF would IMO do much better to emulate.

It is true that FTP masters do not have the final say: the Constitution
offers very good balances in that respect and we haven't been shy about
using them when needed. But I don't think that's the point.

And I don't have a problem with delegating the decision to a team. In
fact, I've been arguing with Richard (Fontana) this precise point at the
time of the preliminary discussions which --- I believe --- have been
the basis for his talk. You can see part of those discussions here:


(unfortunately, Richard's own dents are no longer available on

So I think we are in agreement on this part.

The main point I think we should discuss is the part to which you
replied with "This is unfortunate" (I hope my quoting is correct here).
Namely: the fact that we could do a better job in documenting our
choices. Because that's useful to others and because there aren't that
many license review bodies out there, and finally also because we're
quite peculiar in our way of doing that --- as you pointed out.

> Debian is the only widely-referenced licence Free Software review body
> whose ultimate decisionmakers are anything other than a
> self-perpetuating oligarchy.

FWIW, OSI is opening up, so this might change in the future.

Stefano Zacchiroli  . . . . . . .  zack@upsilon.cc . . . . o . . . o . o
Maître de conférences . . . . . http://upsilon.cc/zack . . . o . . . o o
Debian Project Leader . . . . . . @zack on identi.ca . . o o o . . . o .
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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