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Re: Bug#212525: Package contains non-free GNU FDL material

On Wed, 24 Sep 2003 14:20:21 -0400, Nathanael Nerode <neroden@twcny.rr.com> said: 

> Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>> Hi, On Wed, 24 Sep 2003 02:00:42 -0400, Nathanael Nerode
>> <neroden@twcny.rr.com> said:
>>> This package contains material licensed under the GNU FDL (the
>>> manual) installed in usr/share/info/make.info*.gz.  Debian-legal
>>> has determined that the GNU FDL is not a free software license,
>>> even without Front Cover Texts, Back Cover Texts, or Invariant
>>> Sections.  While attempts are being made to get the FSF to modify
>>> it so that it is, the FSF appears to be very slow and recalcitrant
>>> about making any changes to the GNU FDL; it will likely be years
>>> before it is changed.  Accordingly, in order to satisfy the Debian
>>> Social Contract *now*, the manual should be removed from the
>>> package as soon as is feasible.
>> Debian legal, by itself, probably does not have the rights to make
>> such a determination. Firstly, there has to be a formal
>> determination to the effect, and needs be ratified by the larger
>> developer body.

> That is absolute nonsense.  The shoe is on the other foot.
> Debian-legal has determined that it does not have the right to let
> in non-DFSG-free material, and that the GNU FDL is not DFSG-free.
> This is within its assigned duties.

	Debian user has assigned duties? By whom? Could you point out
 where power was delegated to the mailing list?

	I understand that debian-legal acts in an advisory capacity,
 and is very useful to maintainers who need advice on licensing
 issues. And I shall stipulate that there is a rough consensus on
 debian-legal about the GFDL.

	This decision to exclude GNU documentation from Debian, given
 the sheer volume of GNU software in Debian, is likely to be
 controversial. And we need to have a common stance on this issue.  If
 this is all so very obvious and clear cut, why is it so hard to first
 get a position statement from the DPL, and possibly the release

	Why should we not have a common solution? Should I just move
 make, make-doc, and Gnus to non-free, in accordance with the spirit
 of upstreams desires (do not separate the political text from

	Some have asserted (incorrectly), that the binary packages
 would be no different, and end users should see no change. The fact
 that people make such assertion shows that they have not investigated
 the amount of changes to the packages that would result, not  the
 decrease in utility.

> Licenses are not "free until proven non-free" (as you seem to be
> claiming), and the GFDL has quite certainly been proven not to be a
> free software license.  Even RMS agrees that it is not a free
> software license (he claims that documentation is not software).
> Debian's Social Contract states that "Debian will remain 100% Free
> Software".  Not "Debian will remain Free Software plus some other
> stuff."

	This issue is not cut and dried (indeed, it took even the
 mavens on -legal over a year to reach the current position). 

> The larger developer body certainly has the right to let in such
> material if it chooses to amend or 'clarify' the Social Contract.
> If you want to do that, start the process of doing so.  Nobody has.

	Nope.  If there is going to be a decision taken that requires
 a large number of packages to have to be changed, and generate
 controversy all over the community, it needs be done officially, and
 in concert.

	So, get an official position from the project. Get a statement
 by the DPL, or, better still, start the process to issue a position
 statement as defined in section 4.1.5 of the Debian consitution, if
 you think the DPL is unresponsive. 

	If your views are oh-so-right, you should have no problems
 convincing 50% of us of the case, no?

>> Don't bother reopening these reports, they shall be just as
>> summarily closed.

> I'm not going to start an open-close war right now, but you should
> know that you're quite, quite wrong.

	Ah yes. The great master, who is never wrong, has spoken; and
 who am I to gainsay him?  This strong belief that only ones own
 viewpoint is the right one is jejune.

> Forwarding to debian-devel.  No thanks to you for starting what is
> sure to be a flame war.

	I see. Any dissent from your view point is starting a flame
 war.  I guess, having a lot of strong minded people in the project,
 we are doomed to such.

Is there anything in the universe more beautiful and protective than
the simple complexity of a spider's web?  -- Charlotte
Manoj Srivastava   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024R/C7261095 print CB D9 F4 12 68 07 E4 05  CC 2D 27 12 1D F5 E8 6E
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

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