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Re: O: gnu-standards -- GNU coding standards

On Sun, Apr 07, 2002 at 12:12:47PM -0500, Joe Wreschnig wrote:
> On Sun, 2002-04-07 at 06:14, Federico Di Gregorio wrote:
> > people, i just want to remember you that DFSG stands for debian free
> > SOFTWARE guidelines. documentation is *not* software
> Unfortunately this is becoming less true. CSS contains statements for
> content generation and counting variables. Is this a program? I'm not
> sure, but it's definitely not just a document anymore. XSLT can be
> included as "documentation" (and probably is in a lot of places, in or
> outside of Debian), and XSLT is Turing-complete. Where does the line get
> drawn? Is it possible to draw one?
> IMO, an FDL-licensed document with invariant sections is non-free. As a
> user of Debian, I'd like to know that they're not installed on my system
> if I'm only using packages from main.

As noted - that will mean most of the GNU stuff goes right out the window.
Perhaps Woody+1 will no longer be "Debian GNU/Linux"?

I've said it before, but once again: the world of "writing" (that is, the
various forms of documentation, RFCs - many of which are 'non-free' under
the DFSG, and similar things does *not* have the same baseline of what it
means to be 'free', because it comes from a vastly different world. One in
which 'open distribution of work' is the primary goal, and the basic means
of 'modifying' a work all preserve the origional document intact (that is,
annotation, commentary, and bibliographical reference).

The DFSG is an excellent place to start, but trying to apply it to things
which *are not software* is silly, and results in the sort of sillyness
which we're seeing now - will we see an Orphan message for GCC next?

Folks, if RMS - who I think most folks will acknowlege is a zealot, whether
they agree with his zealotry or not - is not only willing to put up with,
but actively encourages, the use of a core license which Debian considers
to be non-free, then I think it's time to take a step back and seriously
consider *how* we ended up with the world on it's ear.

I know we don't like 'patches only' software, but we *do* allow it - and
the basic assumption of most documentation is that it lives in a world in
which various forms of 'patching' are the *normal* method. I'm all for us
saying 'please try to minimize invariant sections', possibly even 'these
types of sections cannot be invariant to qualify for the DFDG', but if we
want to apply a standard to which the rest of the world will never allow
itself to be held to, we're going to take RMS's place as the zealots whom
large numbers of people ignore.

(Sort of like some folks ignore Jerodan for his Hurd cheerleading, or me
for the *BSD cheerleading, for example...)
Joel Baker                           System Administrator - lightbearer.com
lucifer@lightbearer.com              http://users.lightbearer.com/lucifer/

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