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

On Tue, Nov 27, 2001 at 09:12:58PM +0000, M. Drew Streib wrote:
> Would it be a thought to distinguish between the different types of
> documentation? Should a man page (designed to be strictly technical/reference)
> be any different than files in the doc directory? Could invariants be
> allowed more freely if policy dictated that anything more than a paragraph
> or so be kept in a separate file?

This is one possibility I proposed to RMS.  Essentially, I proposed that
all Invariant Sections had to be placed in debian/copyright, and that
any duplicates of his Invariant text in the "actual" documentation would
be modifiable.  RMS was uncomfortable with this, fearing that people
might change (or omit?) this Invariant text in the place where it showed
up[1].  However, the Invariant Sections would continue to exist in
unmolested form in debian/copyright, and all Debian users know where to
find the copyright file for a given package.

A couple of points about this proposal:

1) It would pretty much forbid Invariant Sections that consist of, or
contain, anything but plain text.  Is this a problem?
2) I'd *still* want a quantitative barrier on the size of
debian/copyright in this case.  The size of this barrier I'm willing to
leave wide open to negotiation, and perhaps use the GNU Emacs Manual as
a yardstick, if it has the most Invariant Sections of any of the GNU

Note that this proposal gets into implementation details, like
"debian/copyright", which I've been trying to avoid, but feel free to
read "designated, standardized location" for this instead.

[1] I think it's interesting that RMS and I have complementary paranoid
fears.  He is afraid that Debian package maintainers will not be
reasonable, and molest the "modifiable" version of Invariant texts, and
I'm afraid that GNU FDL licensors will be unreasonable and pile tons of
Invariant crap onto their manuals that any sane person would want to

G. Branden Robinson                |      The noble soul has reverence for
Debian GNU/Linux                   |      itself.
branden@debian.org                 |      -- Friedrich Nietzsche
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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