Savannah rejects a project because it uses GPL

MJ Ray mjr at
Fri Feb 10 16:17:46 UTC 2006

"Alfred M. Szmidt" <ams at>

> It is a free license (one can modify, use, distribute works licensed
> under the GFDL). It isn't a free _software_ license.

The restrictions on modification (particularly the obnoxious
advertising clause and the encyclopedia problem) and distribution
are too heavy in the opinions of many people. Whether it's
"free", who knows? Who cares? It's unusable for free software.

> Classifying all
> licenses as `free' or `not-free' is like saying `Intellecutal
> property', it can mean anything, and it can mean nothing.

Actually, I agree with this, including the consequence that
your claim FDL "is a free license" means nothing.

Some time since the DFSG, but before the introduction of
the FDL, many debian supporters got used to using "free" and
"non-free" as a shorthand for "free software" and "software
which can go in the non-free archive". (There is proprietary
software which isn't even "non-free", did you know?) Since the
FDL, that just confuses some people who should be supporting
debian and I try to discourage it.

I also discourage classifying licences as free software
licences: it's possible to grant extra permissions with a very
restrictive stock licence to release free software, just as
you can mess up using a very liberal stock licence and end up
releasing undistributable software. It's the software itself
which we want to be free software, not just stock licences.

Hope that explains things a bit,
MJ Ray - personal email, see
Work:  Jabber/SIP ask

More information about the Discussion mailing list