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Re: Defining free, and the DFSG's terminological shortcomings (was: call for seconds: on firmware)

On Sun, Nov 16, 2008 at 11:15:10PM +0000, Ben Finney wrote:
> Pierre Habouzit <madcoder@debian.org> writes:
> > On Sun, Nov 16, 2008 at 10:20:05PM +0000, Ben Finney wrote:
> > > Pierre Habouzit <madcoder@debian.org> writes:
> > > > The SC speaks about software, and doesn't define it.
> > > 
> > > The statement that Manoj refers to, [SC §1], does *not* speak
> > > about software. […]
> > > There is no need to define “software” for this promise to be
> > > understood. It explicitly promises that “the Debian system and
> > > all its components will be free”.
> > 
> > This bit doesn't require the so called source of the work to exist
> > within Debian explicitly. It asks for any component in Debian to
> > meet the DFSG.
> Okay. So, at least, we agree that the promise that Debian will remain
> 100% free does not depend on the term “software”.

It depends on the DFSG which depends on term software. So yes, it
doesn't depend _directly_ on the term software.

> > In turn however, the DFSG requires that in their §2. The DFSG use a
> > mix of "component", "software", "program" words, which makes them a
> > mess in that regard.
> That seems to be an argument for proposing a re-wording of the DFSG,
> so that freedoms are defined without referring to that mess of terms.
> I would agree that could be a good motivation in principle.

Yes, I believe the DFSG are clumsy when it comes to its terms. Component
is clear. Firmwares are part of Debian components for sure, there is
absolutely no doubt about that. But I'm honnestly not sure what
"programs" or "software" mean, and in §2 that's the terms in use, and
that's the sole § causing issues with them.

We have had quite a few rounds of GRs to say that documentations,
images, documentation, fonts... are softwares, we could continue such
rounds, or make the DFSG clearer. I would be more on the latter side.
·O·  Pierre Habouzit
··O                                                madcoder@debian.org
OOO                                                http://www.madism.org

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