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Re: Social Contract GR's Affect on sarge

On Sat, 2004-05-01 at 00:41, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> During the GFDL debates, I lost faith in the FSF with respect to
> documentation: they appeared willing to compromise documentation freedom
> readily, if they thought it would further "free programs".  I found that
> reprehensible.

I can understand some gift not meeting your standards, but it goes
much too far to characterize the giver of disappointing gift as

> I wouldn't be surprised if they, too, were trying to redefine
> "software" to suit their needs.

Ah, I see.  What is reprehensible is the attempt at deceit!  The FSF
wants to manipulate how you use this word so that it can fool you into
accepting its contaminated offerings!  Evil!

> I've seen several people, particularly on debian-legal, suggest that
> documentation should have different standards of freedom than programs,
> requests for a "DFDG", and so on.  (If I remember correctly, RMS was
> among them.)  I've yet to see any interesting arguments in favor of this.

I think that RMS would say[1] that freedom is always valuable,
but that for different kinds of works, different trade-offs may be
appropriate.  Freedom isn't the only valuable thing there is, and
there are different kinds of freedom, and different kinds of works
are more important than others and it is more important for some
to be free than it is for others to be free.[2]

Thus whereas some people writing to debian-devel are dogmatic about
freedom, RMS is more utilitarian.  If that isn't always apparent, I
guess it is because RMS values freedom _very_ highly.

The trade-off that the FSF seems to be making with the GFDL is:
in order to entrench pro-freedom propaganda in works of documentation
and in order to make the publication of (otherwise) free documentation
more palatable to commercial publishers, sacrifice some of the
licensee's freedom of modification.  (I don't know the whole story
behind the writing of the GFDL but I agree with most people around
here that the license is not compatible with the DFSG.)

[1]See, e.g.,
[2] E.g., Stallman doesn't think that the GPL itself should be free.

Thomas Hood

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