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Re: Anton's amendment

On Wed, Feb 01, 2006 at 07:29:51PM +0000, Stephen Gran wrote:
> This one time, at band camp, Thomas Bushnell BSG said:
> > Stephen Gran <sgran@debian.org> writes:

> > >> So, would you regard a license which permitted the modification of
> > >> some features of a program, but not others, to be free?  I would
> > >> not.

> > > In 1997, at the time of the writing of the DFSG, the BSD clause
> > > contained the obnoxious advertising clause.  Yet it still made the
> > > list of 'licenses we consider free'.  Is the advertising clause
> > > substantially different from an invariant section in intent?

> > I can't see any case in which the advertising clause restricts a
> > modification of the program.  Can you?  (Note that it is a *part of
> > the license*, not a part of the program.)

> It does prohibit code reuse, which I think is one of the things under
> discussion here.  Code under this license can't be mixed with code under
> the GPL, as I'm sure you're aware.  Similarly one could say the GFDL
> does not prohibit modification of the program, merely of *part of the
> manual*.

The DFSG does not say that permission to modify can be limited to programs.
The Social Contract has been amended to say that all works we distribute in
Debian need to be held to the same standard.  By what standard should it be
ok to distribute manuals that we can't modify to taste?

Combining works is a separate issue; there are plenty of
mutually-incompatible licenses in Debian, but each of those licenses
individually permits you to make modifications to the affected works.

Advertising clauses are a separate issue; they are not a restriction on
modification of the code, only a restriction on certain types of
supplementary speech (i.e., advertising).

You may say that there are some parallels between these issues, but I don't
think that's a good reason to expand the set of restrictions that we're
willing to consider free, which is effectively what all license debates on
debian-legal amount to.  Of course the fact that documentation with
invariant sections has been in the archive for years, apparently below the
radar, makes it more difficult for us as a community to sort out whether
this is a "new" restriction -- even though most individuals probably do have
an opinion on the question...

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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