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Re: distributable but non-free documents



On Mon, Mar 04, 2002 at 06:12:21PM +0000, Oliver Elphick wrote:
> If I recall, the original issue was about some RFC documents.  I would
> have thought it was essential that such things, which define the
> standards we all use, should be protected from unauthorised amendments. 
> Or do you want Microsoft to issue new versions?...

Daniel J. Bernstein thinks it is essential that such things as software,
which reflect his intellect, savvy, and esteem as a programmer, should
be protected from unauthorized amendments, unless they're distributed
separately as patches to the source.

The GNU GPL on the other hand, says that you can go ahead and modify,
but "you must must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices
stating that you changed the files and the date of any change."

The Artistic license says that you can go ahead and modify, "provided
that you insert a prominent notice in each changed file stating how and
when you changed that file" and follow one of several other guidelines.

Somehow, despite the insane liberalism of the GNU GPL and Artistic
license, the software we use every day to *implement* those standards,
and through which those standards are given reality and force, does not
fragment into a million competing versions with no one clear on exactly
which of the multitudes is the Right or True version, and people are not
left with no way to find out.

No, I am an unimpressed with the argument that standards documents must
be regarded as sacred, unalterable texts, lest the universe collapse
into primeval chaos.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |    If you make people think they're
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    thinking, they'll love you; but if
branden@debian.org                 |    you really make them think, they'll
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    hate you.

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