Debian Free Software Guidelines

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The Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) is a set of guidelines (rules) that the Debian Project uses to decide whether a software license is a free software license, which is used to decide whether a piece of software can be included in Debian. The DFSG is part of the Debian Social Contract.

The guidelines[change | change source]

  1. Free redistribution.
  2. Inclusion of source code.
  3. Allowing for modifications and derived works.
  4. Integrity of the author's source code
  5. No discrimination against persons or groups.
  6. No discrimination against fields of endeavor, like commercial use.
  7. The license needs to apply to all to whom the program is redistributed.
  8. License must not be specific to Debian.
  9. License must not contaminate other software.
  10. The GPL, BSD, and Artistic licenses are examples of licenses thought of as free.

History[change | change source]

The DFSG was first published together with the first version of the Debian Social Contract in July 1997.[1] The primary authors were Bruce Perens and several other Debian developers at the time.

Application[change | change source]

Software[change | change source]

Most discussions about the DFSG happen on the debian-legal mailing list. When a Debian Developer first uploads a package to be included in Debian, the ftpmaster team checks the software licenses and decides whether they follow the DFSG's rules. The team sometimes discusses with the debian-legal list in difficult cases.

Non-software content[change | change source]

The DFSG is focused on software, but in June 2004 the Debian project decided to use the same rules on software documentation, multimedia data and other content. The non-software content of Debian began to follow the DFSG more strictly in Debian 4.0 (released in April 2007) and following releases.

GFDL[change | change source]

Much documentation written by the GNU Project, the Linux Documentation Project and others licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License contain invariant sections, which do not comply with the DFSG. This assertion is the end result of a long discussion and the General Resolution 2006-001[2]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Bruce Perens. "Debian's "Social Contract" with the Free Software Community". debian-announce mailing list.
  2. "General Resolution: Why the GNU Free Documentation License is not suitable for Debian main". Archived from the original on 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2008-08-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

Other websites[change | change source]