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

Hi Enrico,

On Wed, Aug 23, 2006 at 09:48:18AM +0100, Enrico Zini wrote:
> I second most of the proposal, however:

> [...]
> > THE DEBIAN PROJECT therefore,
> > 
> >         1. reaffirms its dedication to providing a 100% free system to our
> > users according to our Social Contract and the DFSG; and
> > 
> >         2. encourages authors of all works to make those works available not
> > only under licenses that permit modification, but also in forms that make
> > such modifications practical; and
> > 
> >         3. supports the decision of the Release Team to require works such as
> > images, video, and fonts to be licensed in compliance with the DFSG without
> > requiring source code for these works under DFSG #2; and
> > 
> >         4. determines that for the purposes of DFSG #2, device firmware
> > shall also not be considered a program.

> I'd personally prefer the 4th point to read:

>           4. determines that for the purposes of DFSG #2, device firmware
>   shall also not be considered a program until it will become practical
>   to do so.

> This would make it clear that we don't pretend to make fine-line
> statements on what is a program and what is not; also, it would not rule
> out the vision of some of us who'd like to see source code for most
> firmware as well, maybe not in etch, or etch+1, or etch+n, but possibly
> in etch+n+1.

As you and I discussed previously on IRC, I don't agree with this amendment.
The premise of my proposal is that we are *not* granting an exception nor
redefining any terms, we are merely recognizing a latent definition of
"programs" that has guided Debian since its inception in spite of standing
in contrast to the dictionary definition of the word.  If I felt that we
were actually redefining terms at this juncture, I would wholeheartedly
agree with Manoj that it should be done by modifying the DFSG with a 3:1
supermajority.  And it seems to me that your proposed amendment falls on the
other side of this line, where you would have us define "program" to mean
one thing now and something else later.

It may be that this discussion will lead me to the conclusion that the
distinction between "stating what our definition of 'program' is" and
"redefining 'program'" is too subtle, in which case I expect that I'll go
for an amendment to the DFSG instead.

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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