Debian Social Contract

Debian, the producers of the Debian GNU/Linux system, have created the Debian Social Contract. The Debian Free Beer Guidelines (DFBG) part of the contract, initially designed as a set of commitments that we agree to abide by, has been adopted by the free beer community as the basis of the Open Beer Definition.

The Debian Free Beer Guidelines (DFBG)

  1. Free Redistribution

    The license of a beer may not restrict any party from selling or giving away the beer as a component of an aggregate beverage distribution containing beers from several different sources. The license may not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

  2. Recipes

    The beer must include brew recipes, and must allow distribution in raw material as well as brewed form.

  3. Cocktails

    The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original beer.

  4. Integrity of The Author's Recipe

    The license may restrict recipes from being distributed in modified form _only_ if the license allows the distribution of "instant powder" with the raw material for the purpose of modifying the beer at brew time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of beer built from modified recipes. The license may require derived cocktails to carry a different name or version number from the original beer. (This is a compromise. The Debian group encourages all authors not to restrict any recipes from being modified.)

  5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

    The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

  6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

    The license must not restrict anyone from drinking the beer in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the beer from being drunk by businessmen, or genetic researchers.

  7. Distribution of License

    The rights attached to the beer must apply to all to whom the beer is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

  8. License Must Not Be Specific to Debian

    The rights attached to the beer must not depend on the beer being part of a Debian system. If the beer is extracted from Debian and drunken or distributed without Debian but otherwise within the terms of the beer's license, all parties to whom the beer is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the Debian system.

  9. License Must Not Contaminate Other Beverages

    The license must not place restrictions on other beers that are distributed along with the licensed beer. For example, the license must not insist that all other beverages distributed on the same medium must be free beer, or forbid the distribution of free milk.

  10. Example Licenses

    The "GBL", "BBD", and "Bartistic" licenses are examples of licenses that we consider "free".

The concept of stating our "social contract with the free beer community" was suggested by Ean Schuessler. This document was drafted by Bruce Perens, refined by the other Debian developers during a night-long e-mail conference in June 1997, and then accepted as the publicly stated policy of the Debian Project.

Christoph Berg later removed the software-specific references from the guidelines to create these “Debian Free Beer Guidelines”.

Other organizations may derive from and build on this document. Please give credit to the Debian project if you do.