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Re: All GPL'ed programs have to go to non-free

Adrian Bunk <bunk@stusta.de> writes:
> On Wed, Apr 20, 2005 at 09:39:23AM -0400, Daniel Burrows wrote:

>> D defeated by a 2.3:1 majority are option F (do nothing at all) and
>> Further Discussion, which all the voters had been told would result in
>> a further delay of the Sarge release.

> A 2.3:1 majority preferred option D to revert -003 over option F to 
> reaffirm -003.

> Rereading the results, I get your point about option B compared to D, 
> making the whole issue even more mysterious.

I don't think it's very mysterious.  I think it's a pretty clear statement
about priorities.  The majority of the Debian developers participating in
the vote do believe that documentation and other files need to be as free
as software, but also believe that getting sarge out the door is much more
important than doing anything about that immediately.  That seems like a
sensible and self-consistent position, and it doesn't seem surprising that
a lot of people hold it.

I tend to come down on the side of feeling that the two GRs really did
clarify Debian's position on whether documentation is held to the same

Based on (lots and lots of) subsequent conversation, the part that still
seems somewhat unclear is whether a similar binding majority would have
agreed to take GFDL documentation out of main, something that wasn't
actually asked directly in either GR.  There seems to be some disagreement
as to whether GFDL-covered works without invariant sections are really
non-free.  (I'm aware of all the arguments; I'm just saying that based on
public postings, they don't seem to have convinced everyone.  I think
there's a much stronger consensus around the idea that works with
invariant sections are non-free.)

There also seems to be discomfort around the implications of the GFDL
being non-free even among people who believe that it is.  I think there's
a fair bit of additional "er, this doesn't feel right" sentiment in
addition to the people who really would argue that the GFDL without
variant sections is a free license.  This is an understandable feeling
that I'd expect to see *even if removing the docs is the right decision*,
since after all this action is probably the sharpest break with the FSF
that Debian has made and removes a fair bit of useful documentation from
main.  I think a *lot* of people are feeling something like "ugh, I don't
have a really good argument against doing that, based on core principles,
but man, it sucks a lot, and I'm really uncomfortable with it."

> - If -003 changed anything, were there Debian developers who mistakenly
>   agreed to -003 because of it's obfuscated "Editorial amendments" 
>   title?

I don't think this is really a productive line of worry, in that all
voting results are suspect if we can't assume that the voters read the GR
and at least some of the extensive e-mail threads about its implications.
I think anyone who was following the Debian discussion mailing lists at
all knew what the GR was about, given the amount of discussion there was
about it at the time.

Russ Allbery (rra@stanford.edu)             <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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