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[GNU-linux-libre] Re: mirror

From: Yavor Doganov
Subject: [GNU-linux-libre] Re: mirror
Date: Tue, 05 Oct 2010 20:56:03 +0300
User-agent: Wanderlust/2.15.5 (Almost Unreal) SEMI/1.14.6 (Maruoka) FLIM/1.14.9 (Gojō) APEL/10.7 Emacs/23.2 (i486-pc-linux-gnu) MULE/6.0 (HANACHIRUSATO)

Karl Berry wrote:
> > Freedom 3 includes distributing modified versions, not just changes.
> But I guess that rms is actually talking about something else, ie, the
> freedom to distribute binaries + patches + original sources is enough.
> Still confusing :(.

I don't find it confusing -- while an annoying limitation from
practical POV, all freedoms are granted.

Perhaps the gnuplot case might lead to severe limitations that would
effectively make it non-free under certain circumstances; for example
a "binary" distro with somewhat limited infrastucture/packaging
framework.  That's never been the case for Debian (and derivatives),
because even in the early days (before dpatch, quilt, new source
formats, etc. were available) straight modifications to the upstream
source ended up in the .diff.gz, which by all means conforms to
"distribute the corresponding source modifications from the released
version in the form of a patch file along with the binaries".  (Or
maybe not, if the plaintiff's lawyer is armed with the tricky
machinery to convince the court that these modifications should be
properly separated and documented...)

Anyway, all I'm trying to say is that TTBOMK, Debian has not
considered such licenses as problematic/nonfree (which of course
doesn't imply they're free of trouble, or are indeed free in the first

However, there's still plenty of things to watch out for: Some of
these kinds of licenses include a clause that forbids you to
distribute a patched binary package regardless of whether you
accompany it with patches, pointers to the original source, etc. --
such a package is effectively nonfree for distros like gNewSense.

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