Re: documentation x executable code
On Wed, Jan 05, 2005 at 04:13:25PM +1100, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 05, 2005 at 04:02:38PM +1100, Craig Sanders wrote:
> > sorry, but that argument is bogus. convenience is NOT the same as freedom.
> > more to the point, freedom does not require convenience.
> Convenience and freedom are not the same, but they are related. You have
> the freedom to write a program which operates in a manner exactly the same
> as acroreader, but without some irritating bug (choose whichever one you
> like). It would be far more convenient if you had the source to acroread to
> make simply the bugfix you require, but freedom does not require
> convenience. So acroread is Free. Cool.
no, acroread is DFSG non-free for other reasons that have nothing to do with
convenience. most notably, the complete absence of source-code, and the right
to modify and redistribute the source.
> > in short, it doesn't make any practical *OR* ethical difference so it doesn't
> > matter in the slightest.
> I don't see much of a case at all for "no practical difference" in what you
> wrote above. The only form of "amendment" that can be made is to reissue a
> newly written RFC saying "this previous one is wrong",
irrelevant. it doesn't matter that the process is inconvenient.
> but your new RFC cannot be a derived work of the superceded one.
> That's a real practical difference to me.
in theory, you may be right. in practice, nobody would give a damn - and
nobody HAS given a damn when people have done exactly that.
the format for an RFC is pretty much prescribed by convention if not by
explict written rule, and the data is implicit in what you're writing. given
those two conditions, any "clean room" re-implementation of an RFC is likely
to be nearly identical to a copy anyway.
as long as you're not plagiarising someone else's work (i.e. claiming it as
your own or failing to give due credit), you can basically do what you want.
> > ps: the GPL itself is non-free. you're not allowed to modify it, so it is
> > non-free. it must therefore be discarded from debian (or moved to non-free).
> > furthermore, since GPL-licensed software requires that the license be
> > distributed with the software, and we are unable to meet that requirement, all
> > GPL-licensed software must likewise be discarded from debian.
> > please explain why we should be willing to make an exception for the GPL text,
> > but not for other texts.
> Ghods, not this one again. The GPL, as a text of it's own, would most
> certainly fail the DFSG. We only include the GPL as a description of the
> terms under which much of the software in Debian is distributed, which is
> very, very inviolable -- the moment you start trying to modify the licence
> terms of a piece of software without the permission of the copyright holder,
> you're deep in "do not pass go, do not collect $200" territory.
it doesn't matter what reason we might have for distributing it. what matters
is that doing so is clearly against the DFSG and the SC.
you haven't explained why we *should* make an exception for the GPL but not
for other texts (note: mere convenience is not a valid reason, any more than
it would be a valid reason for including acroread in main).
by your own admission, the GPL is a non-free document. why, then, is it OK to
distribute it within debian, and why is it OK to distribute other works which
depend upon it (at best, they should go in contrib)?
i see no reason why it's OK to be pedantic about the licensing of one document
(or set of documents, such as those licensed under the GFDL) but fail to be
equally pedantic about another document (e.g. the GNU GPL text).
since you can't or won't explain it, i'll make an attempt for you:
perhaps, just perhaps, the reason is that there is an implicit acknowledgement
of the fact that documents don't need to be held to the exact same standard of
freedom as software, hence it doesn't actually qualify as "non-free" (even
though it would if it were software).
alternatively, maybe nobody thought about it before and everyone just assumed
that it wasn't a problem. well, we know better now.
or, it may just be a copout. the ramifications of holding the GPL text to the
same standard as software are both disastrous and enormous, so we just ignore
the problem and hope it will go away.
craig sanders <email@example.com> (part time cyborg)