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Freedom in Documentation et al. [Re: First Call for votes: ...]

These arguments have all been adequately covered on numerous -legal
threads, and are also conveniently covered in Manoj's excellent GFDL
position statement[1]. My appologies to those who are familiar with them
for rehashing them (you may wish to stop reading now.)

On Sat, 13 Mar 2004, Mikko Moilanen wrote:
> "People" dont have to read them. They can just skip them. Certainly
> nobody shall be forced to read my statements.

We have rejected these arguments for software, just as we have
rejected them for documentation. It is not appropriate for Free works
to burden their users with unmodifiable or unexciseable sections.

We don't allow documentation to include sections that cannot be
excised, just like we don't allow software to require that an about
box that lists important things be present and selectable from a menu.

> But I think that I have the right for example say that "help the
> poor children in Uganda" in my document acknowledgements or
> dedication page. I should also be allowed to include "GNU is my
> reason to live" in dedication page or on front page without them to
> be removed in derivate works.

You have the right to do so, just like you have the right to sell your
documentation, or to have your documentation tattoed onto your
forehead. Your rights to do so, however, end well before requiring
Debian to distribute non-free works.

> If people dont want to read my statements they can rip the off and
> use them as toilet paper or throw them to trash can.

They can't do that with the works under question. That's the whole

Don Armstrong

1: http://people.debian.org/~srivasta/Position_Statement.html
America was far better suited to be the World's Movie Star. The
world's tequila-addled pro-league bowler. The world's acerbic bi-polar
stand-up comedian. Anything but a somber and tedious nation of
socially responsible centurions.

-- Bruce Sterling, _Distraction_ p122


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