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Re: Proposal: The DFSG do not require source code for data, including firmware

Hi Manoj,

On Tue, 22 Aug 2006, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>         So, unless otherwise stated, the foundation document terms
>  refer to commonly understood meanings of words; looking to
>  dictionaries, encyclopedias, and common references.

We're using the term program since the very first day of the DFSG and at
that time the problematic of distributing firmware was not taken into
account since firmware were generally in ROM and would not be installed
dynamicly like today.

So we could ask ourselves if the authors of the DFSG really meant to
encompass the firmware or not, etc. But I find this game really stupid.
It's only semantic nitpicking in one side or in the other, and nobody wins
by imposing his point of view using such methods.

Let's face it, we're leading Debian together and we must take a decision
together. The only good way of getting a decision and having everybody
stick to the decision is to have a decision taken with fair
rules. And fair rules are "simple majority".

>         Calling firmware not programs is our own "special" definition
>  of firmware, and or program, and hence must be defined explicitly in
>  the DFSG.  If we want to state that we only consider certain programs
>  to be free, we ought to be upfront and clear about it in our
>  foundation document.

I don't agree with your reasoning. I agree that firmware are special
purpose programs.

But the text of Steve is quite clear: "4. [The project] determines that for the
purposes of DFSG #2, device firmware shall also not be considered a program.".

We know they are special subclass of programs, but for various reasons, we
don't want to consider them as programs when applying our rules. A simple
majority ought to be enough to determine that. Remember the G in DFSG, it
stands for "guidelines"... we have the right to apply our guidelines in the
way we think is best to achieve our goal (which is BTW defined in the
social contract).


Raphaël Hertzog

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