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Is the GPL free?

I was wondering about the GPL and its restrictions. Not the GPL programs, but
the GPL license text itself.

(from /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL)

#  Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
#     59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307  USA
#  Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
#  of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

Then I go look at the DFSG:

(from http://www.debian.org/social_contract)

# 3.Derived Works
#  The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them
#  to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original
#  software.

Something odd is going on. GPL'ed programs are free (according to the DFSG),
but the GPL itself is not?

I can see two possible solutions:

1. Move the entire /usr/share/common-licenses and all the non-DFSG
   /usr/{,share}/doc/*/copyright files to a non-free package.

2. (IMNSHO the best option) Add an exception to the DFSG saying that the
   license files do not need to comply with item 3 (the license file is part of
   the source packages after all).

The usual disclaimers apply; I'm not a Debian developer, and I'm not subscribed
to the lists.

Note that I crossposted this message to -devel and -legal; I think the
discussion should be carried on -legal only.

Cesar Eduardo Barros

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