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

On Tue, Nov 27, 2001 at 02:30:38PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org> writes:
> > [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
> > excise.
> I think he's not so directly worried about Debian, as he is about
> other people who manifestly are hostile to free software; those other
> people are who he is concerned about, but he can't allow Debian to
> have so special privilege that other folks don't have.

The FSF doesn't have to.  Only one set of the Invariant Sections can
have Endorsements, per the GNU FDL.

Debian isn't seeking to eliminate Invariant Sections entirely, just have
a copy in a standardized place and be able to modify other copy/copies
as needed.

As long as the Invariant Sections accompany the modifiable ones in an
the same "unit" of packaging, I can't see anything deeply objectionable
about this.

> I think that's a reasonable thing to worry about.

Only if permission is being asked to ignore Invariant sections entirely.
That's not what is being asked for.

Though, however, there is still the problem pointed out by Henning
Makholm.  The GNU GPL can be (and has been) used to create a protected,
Free common pool of software.  The GNU FDL does not appear to be easily
applied to this goal, since every text so licensed can haul with it an
arbitrary amount of Invariant text that may stifle the sharing of pieces
of documentation.

Again, this is not a shortcoming of OPL-licensed text when no license
options are exercised.  Perhaps Debian should strip the OPL of its
optional sections and re-brand it the Debian Free Publication License
(acknowledging the license's history, of course)?

G. Branden Robinson                |
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       kernel panic -- causal failure
branden@debian.org                 |       universe will now reboot
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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