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Re: Request for GR: clarifying the license text licensing / freeness issue

Francesco Poli <frx@firenze.linux.it> asked:
> Are there many other greynesses in how the SC and the DFSG are
> interpreted?

Amazingly few, but yes, as some of it is based on guessing how
still-changing legal systems are developing, or how particular licensors
will react to our actions.

At least twice, licensors have reacted in surprising ways.  Does that
mean we made the wrong decision, or broke the SC or DFSG?  And if it does,
would it have been reasonable to reject unknowns?

Other times the law changes (by legislation or precedent or ...) and
maybe that makes things break the DFSG.  Some may remember that I'm
wary of licences that contain 'lawyerbombs' - things which look strange
or confusing and the licensor or licence author refuses to clarify,
waiting for law changes.  That's another type of greyness.

Licences are another type of greyness: unlike Mozilla's software, it's
very easy to produce a modifiable licence from the GPL by removing
one component.  Should the preamble be regarded as part of the name?

Nathanael Nerode <neroden@fastmail.fm> wrote: [...]
> Alternate suggested GR text: [...]
> We wish to clearly inform our users of this temporary exception [...]

It says temporary, but the termination 'no major licenses' event is
unlikely to happen automatically by consensus: the maintainer of a
package under the Gnarly Public Licence is going to consider that a
major licence.  Also, it should try to stop the problem getting worse,
by refusing future unmodifiable licences.

> Frankly I'd be happy with any honest solution.  Currently the promise made in the 
> Social Contract is very stark, very bold, and also untrue.  The DFSG are very 
> stark and bold about this as well.  Lots of "must", "never" and "100%", which 
> simply isn't what's going on.

Clarity is a feature, not a bug.  I feel the correct way to improve
clarity is to help debian live up to its promise clearly as soon as
reasonable.  Bring things from the grey area inside the border - don't
change the promise to move a grey area inside.

Charles Plessy <charles-debian-nospam@plessy.org> wrote: [...]
> the fact that some licences are not modifiable has probably a reason,
> and I think that it would be wiser to find, understand, and discuss it
> before voting on the sole fact that being modifible can have some
> advantages.

As far as I have been told, it's about branding, as with the hypothesis.
It only hurts the brand's friends: bad people will publish a GNU Genial
Public Licence even if it breaks the law.  Friendly people like the
debian project have to choose between their promises to support free
software and the branding.  Which is more important: free software or GNU

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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