[sf-lug] "Free": Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) (& OSD)

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Wed Nov 11 01:31:45 PST 2009

Much thanks for mentioning the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG)
again.  Although I'm quite familiar with the DFSG, you caused me to
realize that the DFSG really embodies what I tend to think of as far as
what "free" (as in "open source" and freedom) software is ... or at
least ought to be.  I think the DFSG does a superb job of capturing what
"free" software is and should be.

For anyone who hasn't yet read it, highly recommended reading:


Quoting Rick Moen (rick at linuxmafia.com):

> Quoting Grant Bowman (grantbow at gmail.com):

> Anyway, FWIW, I vastly prefer DFSG (the Debian Free Software Guidelines)
> as a criterion for "free software" over anything FSF has ever offered.
> E.g., what used to be called the Four Freedoms Essay and lately has been
> styled the "Free Software Definition" strikes me as functionally useless
> for evaluating licences, on account of excessive vagueness.  So, I
> consider "free software licences" to mean "licences satisfying DFSG".

> > What about those licenses that are FSF certified but not OSI
> > certified?

> Basically meaningless trivia revolving around a couple of licences
> (or maybe as few as one licence) that nobody really cares about to begin
> with.  And _also_ irrelevant from my perspective to start with, because
> I consider DFSG the relevant criterion as to whether a software licence
> is "free".  Since DFSG happens to be almost precisely identical to the
> OSD (OSD having been created by slightly modifying DFSG to remove Debian
> references), I personally consider there to be _zero_ difference between
> the set of free software licences and that of open source licences.

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