Subject: open source definition
Date: 10 Feb 1998 20:14:40 -0000

I don't even know what the fsb list is. Should I be on it?

From: "Adam J. Richter" <>
> Some software that could pass the Debian Free Software Guidelines does
> not really qualify as free software, in my opinion.  For example,
> the DFSG only requires that the software be freely redistributable
> "as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing
> programs from several different sources."

If you can get them to change the Artistic license we can take this
out. I don't think Perl would fit the Open Source definition without
this provision. Please go over the license and confirm my impression.
In working on licensing with Debian I find that not many people really
_read_ licenses :-)

> The set of software that passes the DFSG does not guarantee
> the "stand on each other's shoulders" capability that a critereon
> like "not more restrictive than the GPL" does.

You could only do that by getting everyone to use the same license.
That is a project that we could run, but I don't think it's necessary
just to give a new name to "Free software".

> The restriction that source code be distributed as official
> versions + diffs makes it difficult to replace the maintainer of
> a program unwillingly.  Such software eventually loses its development
> momentum.  For example, we would not have {Free,Open,Net}BSD today
> if 386BSD had had such a restriction.

Note that this is not a restriction. It says that a license can do this,
not that a license has to.
You can argue that one out with Eric, it's his favorite part.
I don't care about it much, nobody has had to use it under Debian to date.

> Question for the "Open Source" folks: have  you consulted
> your legal counsel yet?

We did a trademark search. We can get the trademark.
Regarding defending it, we can not defend it as well as a meaningless
word like "Debian", that is clear. "Freed" rather than free offers little
improvement in this respect, it is the past tense of the same meaning. I
would be happy to name it "Debian Free Software" but nobody else would :-)
I don't think inventing a new nonsense word is going to be a good solution,

One thing I want to avoid is "we can't do it perfectly so let's
not do it at all."