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Re: Amendment to GR on GFDL, and the changes to the Social Contract

On Thu, 9 Feb 2006, Marco d'Itri wrote:
Well, maybe the people who mislabeled the "everything is software" vote
as an "editorial change" and deceived many other developers should have
tought about this.

There are two different definitions of the word software:
1. something that can be represented as a finite stream of bits
2. a computer program

Definition 1. is precise, definition 2. is not (PostScript, pseudocode, programs in scripting languages, examples in documentation, string data,
embedded graphic, icons, Perl pod, etc...), leading to questions like:
"this program outputs 'Hello world', the code is under GPL, the data cannot be modified -- does this meet DFSG?"

Another example: the best piece of documentation on vt codes I found is
in /usr/src/linux/drivers/char/vt.c.  For me, it was documentation, for
most of us, it's only code.

Thus, the "editorial change" was simply "changing the wording to something disambiguous". This is clearly just an editorial change _unless_ someone mistakenly assumes the other interpretation. Which seems to be the case here.

Suddenly changing the rules to allow non-free documentation would lead to significant practical problems. For example, I once ported a piece of software (meaning 2.) to Solaris, IRIX and BSD, raiding the man pages for each of these systems, copying snippets directly into my code (#ifdefed and autoconfed). I am allowed to do so. The glibc version of the relevant code predates GFDL, but if I was doing the porting today, I would be forced to reinvent the wheel (around two screenfuls of code). And supposedly GNU is all about freedom...

/-----------------------\ Shh, be vewy, vewy quiet,
| kilobyte@mimuw.edu.pl | I'm hunting wuntime ewwows!
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

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