Consequences of moving Emacs Manuals to non-free
[ CC'ing debian-emacsen, as this should be of interest for Emacs users and
developers. Also, I would like to read other people's opinion about this.]
Jérôme Marant wrote:
Since the FDL documents contain invariant sections, they will have to be
moved to non-free very soon.
When you do this, please consider the consequences for Emacs' usability.
Removing the manual leaves only a bare minimum for learning Emacs (the
tutorial, basically) and has a great impact even for experienced users
who know how to get information out of docstrings and the like. I would
go as far as saying that Emacs is unusable without the manual. If you
agree with that, you should make the emacs21 packages depend on (or at
least, recommend) the "non-free" manual; of course, that implies moving
the emacs21 package and everything that depends on it (rather than on
emacsen) to contrib. I would prefer a dependency over a recommendation,
to ensure that users are not left stuck with an undocumented Emacs.
Note that the same consideration applies to emacs-snapshot and the
upcoming emacs22 release.
So, I'll propose to move those essays to non-free as well at the same
time in order to avoid changing the orig tar as much as possible.
If you disagree with my above reasoning that emacs21 should depend on the
"non-free" bits, this calls for a modification of help.el and startup.el,
i.e. the functions `describe-project' and `startup-echo-area-message'.
Otherwise, people might be in for a nasty surprise when they type C-h C-p.
Oh, and several commands that look up documentation in the manual will
not work at all.