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Re: PROPOSED: interpretive guidelines regarding DFSG 3, modifiability, and invariant text

Scripsit Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org>
> On Tue, Nov 27, 2001 at 04:14:24PM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> > Scripsit Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org>

> > > it is impossible for an author/copyright holder to
> > > misapply the GNU GPL to his own work.

> > /* Copyright (c) 2001 J. Stupid Luser
> >  *
> >  * This program is free software and is governed by the GNU public
> >  * license. It comes with no warranty and must not be sold for profit.
> >  */

> Whatever this is, it isn't the GNU GPL.

It is completely similar to the situation you worry about where an
author purports to use the GFDL but adds extra, inconsistent,
restrictions - for example marking a section as "Invariant" when that
section cannot be "Invariant" at all due to the explicit definitions
in the GFDL itself.

If that happens we can just copy your GPLish reasnoning and say
"whatever this is, it isn't the GNU FDL" and be done with it. No new
situation here.

A side note: Having read the GFDL I'm left feeling less than comfortable
with its treatment of Invariant Sections. Specifically, you're not
allowed to delete Invariant Sections (of any kind) in derived works.
This seems to pose a practical obstacle to reusing documentation

Scenario. Suppose I'm writing a silly little tool that basically does
the same thing as xfontsel but allows the user, along the way, to edit
the sample text. This editing uses emacs-like keybinding (however, I'm
implementing the actual code from scratch for some convenient
technical reason that I'll leave it to the reader to think up).

The manual for my tool will be very small, because I do not really
know enough X font naming conventions to explan to the user what their
choices actually mean. But it would be nice to reuse (slightly
reworked) a couple of pages from the Emacs manual that describe the
editing keybindings. However, I'm not allowed to do this without
adding to my manual things such as the GNU Manifesto, which would then
completely dwarf the actual technical content of the manual, rendering
it unsuitable for inclusion in Debian!

On the other hand, I don't really want the Emacs manual to disappear
from Debian just because of this. But we might give it a thought
whether it would be a Good Thing to have a semi-official set of
guidelines that explicitly bless such obnoxious terms, instead of
just letting them slip by unnoticed for documentation we Really,
Really want to have in Debian.

Yes, I know, I'm arguing for inconsistency and double standards here.
May be a good thing that I'm not a voting Debian Developer. :-)

Henning Makholm                              "En tapper tinsoldat. En dame i
                                         spagat. Du er en lykkelig mand ..."

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