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Re: [rant] Re: Consequences of moving Emacs Manuals to non-free

On Sat, 25 Mar 2006 10:31:39 +0100, David Kastrup <dak@gnu.org> said:

> Hubert Chan <hubert@uhoreg.ca> writes:
>> On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 22:59:59 +0100, David Kastrup <dak@gnu.org> said:
>>> Well, then _stand_ by your convictions.  Remove software from the
>>> GNU project from Debian.  Free software with unfree documentation is
>>> a sham.  If you call the documentation unfree, then the software
>>> can't be used like free software, and you should remove it, too.
>> Do you assert that any software without documentation is non-free?

> Software _bereft_ of its documentation is crippled.

Perhaps, but it is no more "crippled" than software that does not have
any documentation.  Software without documentation is "crippled" from

> In particular, if access to the documentation is a well-integrated
> operation of the software.

Yes, like the documentation of make is a well-integrated operation of

Even with emacs, the documentation is easily separable.  There are a few
commands such as "C-h C-p" that will show some documentation files, but
those are hardly critical to the operation of emacs.  Emacs happens to
have an info browser with which you can read its documentation in info
format, but the info documentation is not necessary for the operation of
emacs.  Emacs works fine without it.

> If Debian considers crippleware "free", they are sending out a message
> about freedom that does not seem particularly helpful to the cause.

"Crippled" is orthogonal to free, just like buggy is orthogonal to free,
or undocumented is orthogonal to free.  I think that most Debian
Developers would consider it non-ideal, just like they would consider
buggy or undocumented software to be non-ideal, but that has nothing to
do with freedom.

Hubert Chan - email & Jabber: hubert@uhoreg.ca - http://www.uhoreg.ca/
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