The debian-private mailing list leak, part 1. Volunteers have complained about Blackmail. Lynchings. Character assassination. Defamation. Cyberbullying. Volunteers who gave many years of their lives are picked out at random for cruel social experiments. The former DPL's girlfriend Molly de Blanc is given volunteers to experiment on for her crazy talks. These volunteers never consented to be used like lab rats. We don't either. debian-private can no longer be a safe space for the cabal. Let these monsters have nowhere to hide. Volunteers are not disposable. We stand with the victims.

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Eric Raymond on the Free Software Guidelines

Date: Sun, 13 Jul 1997 14:33:30 -0400
Message-Id: <>
From: "Eric S. Raymond" <>
Subject: Debian Free Software Guidelines
Status: R

I've been thinking a lot about free-software licensing lately.  This
is partly due to the ncurses flap, but mostly because of the
archive-maintainer stuff I've been doing at Sunsite.  Also because
I've begun writing a book (working title: "The Art Of Unix
Programming") which will have to include in-depth discussion of
licensing alternatives.

Bruce, I'm writing to express my appreciation of the intelligence of
the Debian Free Software Guidelines on licenses.  I think these
capture the essential characteristics of free software very well.

Not least of their virtues is that they allow classes of licensing
which preserve the benefits of freedom while ensuring authors artistic
control and a clear audit trail of modifications.  The separation of
the right to redistribute modified binaries from the right to
redistribute modified sources is particularly clever in this regard.

Erik, I am in the process of preparing a major revision of the Sunsite
LICENSE document.  The purpose of this revision is to encourage more
authors to use a "standard" license code in the Copying-Policy line, so
that distribution makers will easily be able to reject only packages
with restrictive licenses.  At present, 58% do this.  I want to push
that to 95% or more.

(For both your interests, here are the raw statistics, as gathered by a
mode of the keeper tool I wrote for the purpose:

# Total of 2661 LSM files.
# Of these, 2269 (85%) have explicit licenses.
# 1547 (68%) of explicit licenses are of standard types.
# Standard:  1547   (58% of total)
# Breakdown of standard freeware license types.
# GPL:       1046   (67% of standard)
# BSD:         92   ( 5% of standard)
# PD:          80   ( 5% of standard)
# MIT:         14   ( 0% of standard)
# Artistic:     3   ( 0% of standard)
# FRS:        272   (17% of standard)
# Shareware:   40   ( 2% of standard)

I have eyeballed the 600 or so `nonstandard' license lines.  Most of
these are standard licenses with added noncommercial-use
restrictions. Otherwise they roughly conform to the distribution of
the standard license types.

PD = public domain.  The FRS code covers license types that allow free
use, copying and local modification, but may restrict redistribution
of modified copies.  The popularity of the FRS code is interesting
given that I made it up out of thin air myself about three months ago,
last time I revised the LICENSE page.

For details on these codes see the Sunsite LICENSE page.)

Unless you (Erik) object, I propose that we use the Debian guidelines
as the basis of our new discussion of license policy.  I further
propose that we warn submitters that, beginning at some specified date
(A-day), we will no longer accept submissions with licenses that do
not conform to the Debian guidelines.  And that after another
specified date (B-day) we will begin removing from the archive (or
perhaps banishing to an "unfree" directory) all software and documents
which do not meet these guidelines.

It is my considered opinion that the Debian guidelines are the best
operational definition of "free software" I have seen in fifteen years
of attention to free-software issues.  I am proposing to use the bully
pulpit of Sunsite to spread this model and this definition.  I think 
somebody (and I'd like to know who!) is owed some serious thanks for
having thought the underlying issues thriough so clearly.

Bruce, you have my permission and encouragement to redistribute this note to
the other Debian core developers.
		<a href="";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

Bruce Perens K6BP   510-215-3502
Finger for PGP public key.
PGP fingerprint = 88 6A 15 D0 65 D4 A3 A6  1F 89 6A 76 95 24 87 B3 

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