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Debian and the GNU Free documentation license

Hi folks,

	Beginning in 2001, concerns regarding the compatibility of the
 GNU Free Documentation License with the Debian Free Software
 Guidelines came to the attention of the debian-legal mailing list.

	In early 2002, the Free Software Foundation announced that it
 would be revising the GNU FDL and producing a new version, issued a
 draft, and solicited feedback from the community.

	Towards the end of 2002, the FSF released version 1.2 of the
 GNU FDL, but their new version did not address several of the
 DFSG-related concerns of the Debian Project. An additional year's
 worth of discussions with representatives of the GNU FDL did not
 persuade the Debian Project that its interpretation of the license or
 its own guidelines are incorrect; neither did they persuade the FSF
 that substantial alteration of the FDL's terms were warranted.

	Unfortunately, most of this discussion has been confined to
 the debian-legal mailing list, with the result that people like me
 who do not follow debian-legal are not aware of the situation, and,
 for the most, do not know the details of the issue involved.

	If the concerns of the people on debian-legal are shared by
 the developer body at large, we may have a potentially serious
 issue. The first step to determine this is making people aware of
 the issues involved.  The next would be to see if we can reach a
 determination of the position the project at large want to take on
 this issue.

	Having a common position for the project on this issue would
 also help in trying to resolve the concerns; having a common voice,
 and knowing what the project wishes to do about packages that ship
 with GFDL licensed material would help our representative to better
 project Debian's position.

	I have prepared a document that encapsulates the concerns that
 Debian folks have raised over in debian-legal, along with an
 annotated version of the GFDL. I have tried to be inclusive, and have
 incorporated in this one document all the concerns that have been
 voiced by various people on debian-legal. This is a work in progress,
 it is meant to be discussed and modified by the developer body. It
 needs to be integrated into a coherent position statement, and it the
 polish that it currently lacks needs to be remedied.

	At this stage, I have distinguished between my commentary
 (which has largely not been honed in a discussion), and mature
 commentary from mavens on debian-legal; and I have attributed each
 contributor separately. Over time, I hope to use this document as the
 basis for crafting a common position statement by the developers,
 which we can issue under section 4.1.5 of the debian constitution.

       I need your help to create and refine this position statement.

	Thanks for your patience. The URL of the document is:

Be consistent.  --Larry Wall in the perl man page
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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