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Re: Documentation Freeness (Re: Packages to be removed from hamm)

On Sat, May 30, 1998 at 09:17:09AM +0100, Jules Bean wrote:
> It's not ridiculous at all.  It's entirely sensible - but we're blurring the
> boundaries between software and documentation.  And there is a boundary.

How can someone be scared that a standard would become changed incorrectly,
but nobody is scared that someone would make gcc to put a root exploit in
every executable?

Let's not get carried away --- we have to be able to fix broken
documentation in the same way we can fix broken software.

We can talk about restrictions. Some good approaches would be:

1) The document must be free but may require a change in the title for a
modified version (for example "FSSTND" would become "Debians implementation
of the FSSTND" or something without the acronym FSSTND at all).

2) Many authors don't want their work to be published out of their control.
This is a valid point, but makes the document non-free, sorry. It is the
same as pressing software on CD --- publishers have to make substantial
additions or superb quality to warrant a higher price than production costs.

I see the software and documentation in computer-readable format quite
similar. An example:

You write an Exim Book in ASCII. A publisher takes it and reproduces it in
SGML and prints it. Because the source of the book must be made available,
the publisher is required to make the sgml source available including ddt
(this is an interpretation of GPL copyright and should probably be
clarified). This way, the original author and the free software community
has a sgml version that can be reproduced in many different formats.

I think the benefit is quite great, and a publisher would think twice before
doing this.

The document authors already can enforce a lot of things, keeping the
document free:

1) Enforce a name/title change.
2) Enforce "marking" all changes (providing the original and a diff should be
3) Enforce a public and prominent note that this is a derived version of a
free document, available at no costs in the net (or elsewhere).

I want to hear valid reasons why this is not enough before I even think
about non-free documents in main!


"Rhubarb is no Egyptian god."        Debian GNU/Linux        finger brinkmd@ 
Marcus Brinkmann                   http://www.debian.org    master.debian.org
Marcus.Brinkmann@ruhr-uni-bochum.de                        for public  PGP Key
http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Marcus.Brinkmann/       PGP Key ID 36E7CD09

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