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On Mon, 2002-04-08 at 11:51, David Starner wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 08, 2002 at 09:53:54AM -0500, Jeff Licquia wrote:
> > Documentation isn't software.  Neither are conffiles, icons, etc.  
> When I buy software, all of that is part of what I buy. Foldoc says
> that one definition of software is "programs plus documentation though
> this does not correspond with common usage." In any sense interesting to
> me (and hopefully Debian), icons and the other miscellany that make up a
> working program are part of that program, and need to be modifiable with
> it.

So is the Bible "software"?  We ship it in a package, after all.

What about this email?  It's being processed by software (your mailer);
does that make it software?  What if it's HTML email and contains
JavaScript?  Is it software then?  Does it become software because it
was sent by debconf, meaning that the mail's content is embedded in a

Is a config file "software" if it's executable?  If it's a conffile?  If
it's a file created and maintained by a postinst?  If it's a file
created by base-config?

Is an icon software if removing it breaks the program?  What if removing
it doesn't break the program?

As foldoc itself says, "this does not correspond with common usage". 
Part of the reason, I think, is that the foldoc definition isn't really
a definition; it's a statement of best practices trying to pretend it's
a definition.  As a statement of best practices, it's very good, but as
a definition, it sucks.

> > In the
> > meantime, we hold to the spirit, not the letter, of the DFSG, and
> > acknowledge that things are not quite as clear as they should be for
> > now.
> How can you claim that the DFSG, in spirit or letter, encourages
> non-modifiable material of any sort? Even patch clauses are labeled
> a compromise by the DFSG.

Copyright notices and attribution are allowed to be non-modifiable; by
implication, so are software licenses.  

We have history dating back to 1994 (predating the DFSG itself), if
others' posts can be believed, that contain non-modifiable
documentation, and this was not considered a violation of the DFSG
then.  (Most likely, it just wasn't considered at all.)

Finally, we have a statement from a primary author of the DFSG that
states that the GFDL does not violate the spirit of the DFSG.

That strikes me as a decent amount of evidence that the limitations on
software stated by the DFSG weren't intended to cover non-software

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