[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: New DFSG-compliant emacs packages

Peter S Galbraith <p.galbraith@globetrotter.net> writes:

> David Kastrup <dak@gnu.org> wrote:
>> > Experienced users know Emacs enough to get along without its
>> > documentation,
>> Again, this is utter nonsense.  I am an active Emacs developer and
>> maintainer of AUCTeX, and such can hardly be called inexperienced,
>> and I frequently need the documentation.
> That may only mean that you need the documentation in your role as a
> developer, not as a user.  That's certainly the case for me.  I
> rarely use the docs in my day-to-day job while using Emacs, but do
> need it when coding for it.

I need them often when answering people's question.  Namely: while my
own copy of Emacs is already configured to my taste, and I know how to
deal with my daily routine, I don't have the knowledge to tell people
how to configure Emacs to their taste, and how to deal with their
daily routine.  And that is an answer that the documentation should
(and usually does) provide.

>> > Again, the split was made to make things clear toward licensing.
>> The purpose of Debian is to provide free software, not to provide a
>> lecture about it.
> I guess it's the FSF's job to lecture about it in non-removable
> sections of unrelated documentaion.

The way the FSF chooses to lecture about free software is by writing
about it in a non-removable section in related documentation.  There
is still an understandable connection between intent and action.  And
the underlying premise is that documentation and code are different
things, with different requirements.

>> If Emacs (as created, provided and named by the FSF) can't be
>> provided in Debian main according to Debians guidelines, it should
>> get moved as whole to non-free.
> David, why are you getting so upset about this as a Debian user?

I am upset about this as an Emacs developer.  Who do you think will
get pestered with bug reports originating from missing documentation?
Does the bug reporting command of Emacs in Debian point to a Debian
list?  Of course not.  Debian's actions will be responsible for
significantly decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio on the Emacs bug
lists, without Debian itself taking any share of the load.

> If you're unhappy with debian, by all means use another
> distribution; there are plenty to choose from.  No, I'm not trying
> to irritate you.  I just wonder why it matters so much that Debian
> thinks differently about these freedoms than the FSF does.

Because the mess harms the upstream reputation ("Emacs does not work")
as well as causes extra work.

> The FSF can decide what to package together when they make their own
> distribution, but this call is made by the Debian package
> maintainer(s).

But M-x report-emacs-bug RET reports to the GNU addresses.

>> There is no sense in providing only a partly functional part in main.
> And you also wrote:
>> >               Do you actually believe that emacs without docs is
>> > not useful?
>> Quite a number of commands don't work.
> If quite a number of commands don't work without the docs, then one
> can wonder why the FSF choose to relaese the two parts under
> different licenses in the first place.

Certainly.  It is partly a "bigger picture" problem: the GNU Emacs
manual is one of the few manuals that actually are in significant
circulation in paper form.  Many of the GFDL clauses were specifically
crafted with this manual in place (and I don't think that many other
manuals contain the GNU manifesto, for example).

But I don't see why one debatable decision should make an excuse for
an even worse decision.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

Reply to: