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

> Hello!
> On Tue, Jun 02, 1998 at 09:19:11PM +0200, joost witteveen wrote:
> > 
> > > The document authors already can enforce a lot of things, keeping the
> > > document free:
> > > 
> > [...]
> > > I want to hear valid reasons why this is not enough before I even think
> > > about non-free documents in main!
> > 
> > Uhm -- just one reason: GPL (the text) is non-free: you are not allowed
> > to modify it (from the GPL, first few lines):
> > 
> >   Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
> >   of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
> Nah! You can't change the copyright of a program, so what? You can derive a
> new copyright from the GPL, but you mustn't name it GPL. Changing the name
> is enough, because license textes themselves are not copyrighted in the normal
> sense (IIRC). 
OK, that may well be true. But still the text of the GPL is clear: you
are not allowed to change it, whether you change the name of your cahnged
version or not.

It may well be that in some countries, becaus the GPL is a (software)
licence, such claims are illegal, and that thus in those countries
one can change the tekst of the GPL (possibly changing the naem of the document).

But that really only applies to those countries where by law licences
are "changeable documents". And it clearly is agianst the wisxhes of
those who wrote the GPL.

> As I stated in my original mail, requiring a name change is okay and does
> not make a document non-free IMHO.

That is perfectly OK for me too. But the GPL tekst doesn't say one
is allowed to change the text, if one also changes the name. The GPL
just say one isn't allowed to change it.

> > Fortunately (if I'm correct) the GPL does not _FORCE_ us to include a copy
> > of the GPL document with debian -- so there _is_ a way to distribute a ``free''
> > debian: `rm /usr/doc/copyright/*GPL'. (and maybe put a note there, saying
> > that we cannot distribute the GPL due to licence problems, but it can be found
> > by writing to ...).
> > 
> > Actually, I'm more serious than it may seem. Yes, I realise it's a bit harsh
> > to remove it (and other references) from Debian, but if that helps to
> > make the FSF distribute the GPL with a different licence, then it's a good
> > thing.
> This is not necessary, as this has nothing to do with software freeness
> anymore. The point is that you can't change the copyright of programs (this
> does not make them non-free!), 
OF cource I agreee with you.

And by typing:

  sed -e "s/e/E/g" /usr/doc/copyright/GPL > /tmp/my-changed-gpl

I wouldn't be changing the copyright of any GPL-ed programme -- and I
don't want to change those copyrights. I just want to be allowed to
execute the above command. The text of the GPL says I'm not allowed to
do so.

> Where is the problem?
> The problem is that the GPL is a legal text, and a sequence of bytes. We
> want to have the right to change the sequence of bytes, not the legal text.
> If we encode the GPL in unicode instead of ASCII, is this a infringement
> against the quote above?

Yes, unless you call a unicode version "verbatim".
Yes, I don't want to  change the licence of any existing GPL-ed programme.
I do want to be able to change the docuemnt, possibly for my own programmes.
(Though I'll stick with pure GPL for now).

> Let's not get bizarre here. I'll try to summarize:
> 1) A software entity that forbids to change the copyright is not non-free
> becasue of this clause (if this would be true, we could only ship PD
> software).

That I agree with: but the above quote din't just say you aren't allowed
to  change the document called "GPL", or "COPYING", beloging to a
programme. The quote sais a lot more: It also says you are not
allwoed to change the GPL _at_all_.

> 2) Requiring a name change is sufficient to cope with this problem.

If I'm allowed to issue the sed-command above, then I'm all happy.
The problem is that the GPL does not allow me to issue that sed-command.

I think we both agree on the main issues, we just read the quote
of the GPL different.

You seem to read:

   Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
   of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

as saying "change this document as you like, but if you change it,
also change the name of the document".

However, I see no reference to the name of the document there, nor
do  I see any reason wy the above quote alowes me to change the
the GPL at all, with or without chaningt the name. Also, I think
the quote is quite clear: DO NOT CHANTGE THE DOCUMENT. whether
you change the name or not.

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