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Re: Defining free, and the DFSG's terminological shortcomings

Pierre Habouzit <madcoder@madism.org> writes:

> On Sun, Nov 16, 2008 at 11:15:10PM +0000, Ben Finney wrote:
> > 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

I think that's a mischaracterisation of those GRs. They're not “to
say that foo is software”, but rather “to determine whether foo
should be exempt from the freedoms that we promise to apply to all of

Again, as earlier in this thread, I don't see such arguments
necessarily requiring a definition of “software”; but, as you say,
the current wording of the DFSG makes this confusion much more likely.

> we could continue such rounds, or make the DFSG clearer. I would be
> more on the latter side.

Agreed, I would very much like the DFSG to be clearer as to what
freedoms it defines for works in Debian.

Is now a good time to propose such a GR? On the positive side, it
could bring clarity to the ongoing discussions about what freedoms
apply to works in Lenny; on the negative side, it could further delay
the resolutions that seem to more directly impact the status of Lenny.

 \         “I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the |
  `\                                               best.” —Oscar Wilde |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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