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Re: Is forcing "upstream" distribution really OK for free software?


From: Simon Waters
Subject: Re: Is forcing "upstream" distribution really OK for free software?
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 22:45:27 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.6) Gecko/20040413 Debian/1.6-5

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MJ Ray wrote:
|
| I'm not. I'm trying to filter out my bad ideas before getting slapped by
| FSF again. I really don't understand where the error is in this
| situation and I'd like to figure that out before reporting a bug.

I think that a forced redistribution clause wouldn't fit the Debian free
guidelines, but is within the spirit of the FSF/GPL (not that the GPL
places any such a requirement - it merely requires it for people you
share with - you don't have to share with the original author(s) even if
not doing so seems a bit mean spirited).

There is no reason to think that Debian will endorse any and all
licences the FSF approves AFAIK. So I'm not sure why you expect the two
sets of guidelines to be consistent?!

As to whether it is okay for free software - well I think licence terms
are the authors responsibility - and if he wants all modifications sent
to him (which I can understand, even Debian packagers don't always
remember to notify the maintainers of bugs found (and often fixed) - you
have to go sign up) - that is his call but I wouldn't expect to find it
in Debian "free" (so it won't be on this machine) - but I'd be
reasonably happy using it or contributing modifications to such a project.

My hunch is the FSF would probably drop the wording if you query it -
licences are to protect freedoms not enforce good karma, maybe it is
left over from some earlier piece of a controversy over emacs - do any
common licences actually do this?
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