[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Front page to wiki now modifiable again

From: Andrew Suffield
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Front page to wiki now modifiable again
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 2004 01:40:13 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/

On Wed, Mar 24, 2004 at 04:58:52PM -0800, Tom Lord wrote:
>     > From: Andrew Suffield <address@hidden>
>     > > The FSF has never tried to define "free" in some general sense.  They
>     > > (and RMS) are pretty narrowly focused.  They have a very nuanced
>     > > assesment of the meaning of "free" and the cliched account of the
>     > > "Debian position" is that Debian has a very blunt and somewhat idiotic
>     > > conception.
>     > It's quite simple, really. RMS has stated that (a) the GFDL is
>     > not a "free software" license, and (b) it is not meant to be,
>     > but he has ignored questions as to what "free" means in its
>     > name, or what constitutes a "free documentation" license 
> He has not ignored such questions.
> for example.  I've seen numerous writings by RMS on the topic over the
> years and knew at once that you are being unfair in your summary of
> his position.

It is interesting to note that this essay used to argue things like
the GFDL were unacceptable documentation licenses, and was revised to
say that actually, they are (without giving any rationale or limits
for this new claim).

Most of the important questions were directly in relation to that
document. None of them were answered by it.

> A couple of months ago I went and reviewed a few years of the Debian
> legal mailing list discussions with and at RMS on this topic.   Your
> reply here reminds me of those.   To call the exchange a "discussion"
> is being charitable to Debian folks who advocated for (again, a
> charitable description) a change to documentation licensing.

Funny, I'd say it was being charitable to RMS, despite the best
efforts of the people on debian-legal to reach some sort of
resolution. And I didn't review it, I was there. We had to go to other
people in the FSF to make any kind of headway (just about anybody
else, it turned out - but they can't justify the GFDL, they don't
think it's free either).

And your reply reminds me of RMS's. Handwaving and stuff that's just
plain made up (especially the repeated "abuse" claims), while never
answering the important points.

>     > (while the FSF's definition of "free software" is quite clear
>     > and agreeable).
> More interesting than the definition, I think, is the spirit of its
> aim.  That spirit is consistent with GFDL.   That spirit is why v2+ is
> a sane choice.

So rather than the principles of free software, you're picking some
other critera that is satisfied by those principles, and saying that
anything else fitting your criteria is okay. The problem should be
obvious; "this is software" would fit that description, and any
software license would be a "sane choice". That's just handwaving.

>     > We don't know what he's thinking, because he refuses to talk
>     > about it. 
> He does not.   He refused at one point to suffer further abuse on the
> debian legal list.   That's not the same thing.

Amazing how the moment anybody disagrees, it's "abuse" and must not be
suffered. It makes for a fairly one-sided discussion.

>     > But we're pretty sure that we're only interested in
>     > "free software", and not this other "free" stuff, and we can
>     > conclude that when he says "free" he doesn't always mean "free
>     > software". So now we have to be careful.
> Well, what is _your_ definition of "free", since you think it is
> applicable as a touchstone which must be used to test any FSF
> licensee?

Here it is:

Clear, precise, and decidedly acceptable. Minus the hippie stuff, it's
the first test usually applied to any license under review to test
whether it is free enough for Debian (the DFSG is essentially this
written more explicitly, plus some pragmatic restrictions).

RMS has acknowledged that the GFDL is not free under this definition.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' : |
 `. `'                          |
   `-             -><-          |

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]