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Re: Gnus Manual License

On Fri, 06 Oct 2006 11:25:52 +0300, Yavor Doganov <yavor@doganov.org> said:

> В Thu, 05 Oct 2006 18:41:05 -0400, Hubert Chan написа:
>> On Thu, 05 Oct 2006 15:54:05 +0200, Simon Josefsson <jas@extundo.com>
>> said:
>>> I believe the license clause is annoying, but, as for OpenSSL, does
>>> not make it impossible to use the licensed material freely, and in
>>> particular, should not prevent including it in main.
>> Yes, I agree that it is annoying.  I think that RMS also thought it
>> was annoying, which makes me wonder why he doesn't mind invariant
>> sections in documentation.  I'm sure he's answered that question
>> before, so if someone has a pointer to where I can look that up, I'd
>> be interested.

> To better understand the reasoning, I suggest you to read/listen one
> of RMS' speeches "Copyright vs. Community in the Age of Computer
> Networks"; they're linked from http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ under
> the section "Speeches and Interviews".

Thanks.  I'll take a look.

> To summarize: Documentation is a "functional work" and thus in order
> to be free we must have the right to modify it.  "Invariant Sections"
> are "aesthetic works", not connected with the technical matter that
> the manual is about, and represent ethical/political/whatever opinions
> of the authors.

And as such, I would expect that they should at least be removable,
which they are not.

> It won't be useful to modify The GNU Manifesto or THE-GNU-PROJECT and
> turn these things into something completely different.

I disagree.  I may want to write a "Hubert Manifesto" and use "The GNU
Manifesto" as a starting point.  Now whether I should be allowed to do
that is a different matter, but you can't say that it "won't be useful"
to have such permission.  It would be extremely useful for me,
especially considering that I'm not a very good writer.

And in a distribution like Debian that claims that every bit is
modifiable (save for license texts, which I think Aj, or someone,
promised we would have a GR to clarify that after etch), such sections
should not be allowed.  The only way it should be allowed is to change
the Social Contract and/or DFSG.

> Note that during the last GFDL discussion on -vote (prior to the GR)
> Anton Zinoviev and I contacted RMS about some clarifications.  He
> believes that a manual might be non-free for someone, if it contains a
> long enough list with lots of invariant sections, or sections that

Well, "long enough" is very subjective.  And I would not be comfortable
basing freeness on something so subjective.

> contain abusive material.  That doesn't make the license non-free,
> though.

> A world where "everything is modifiable" would be an absurd one.

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