On Wed, Nov 28, 2001 at 05:41:00PM -0700, Richard Stallman wrote: > 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. > > That is unacceptable because it would allow modified versions of the > GNU Manifesto. ...but not modified versions that carried the FSF's endorsement (unless the FSF decided to do so), or whatever other Endorsements you wanted to place on it under the GNU FDL. The official version would continue to exist in debian/copyright or some similar file. Even today, the FSF's control over the GNU Manifesto is not complete; someone could always author a parody of it and such a work would be protected speech under the First Amendment, at least in the United States. > The GFDL, like the previous Emacs Manual license, was designed to > require every copy of the Emacs Manual to include an unmodified copy > of the GNU Manifesto. This requirement would still be met. It would, however, permit people to have (or not) duplicates of the GNU Manifesto inside the package, some of which may be modified. But that's what they would be: duplicates. The original, unmodified version would have to be present under the GNU FDL and I am not asking for that to change. I get the feeling you must be concerned about people modifying the GNU Manifesto in bad faith -- so as to distort its meaning, for instance. Formatting changes (making section headings larger, etc.) would probably be unobjectionable and I'm not sure style of presentation is well-protected under existing copyright law. Under my proposal, people would always know where to look for the Official Version of the GNU Manifesto, or any other Invariant text, in the event that a package maintainer does something nefarious with his freedom to alter (for instance) the info file. Isn't the expectation that a Debian developer would molest the text of the GNU Manifesto (other than to omit it, but he can't omit the one in debian/copyright under my proposal anyway) one of those extreme scenarios we've been discussing? Is omission such a disaster since the GNU Manifesto would never be truly removed from the package? Furthermore, I doubt any package maintainer would bother, since people who install GNU Emacs are, with all due respect, probably not gravely concerned about economizing on disk space. Furthermore, any such bad-neighbor activity on the part of a Debian developer would surely get him yelled at from within the Project. While there are people in the Debian Project who have varying opinions about the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation, I doubt there is anyone who would seriously advocate modifying the GNU Manifesto so as to corrupt its text. My guess is that you perceive the threat as coming from licensees of the GNU Emacs manual that don't share the good relationship that the FSF and Debian have. But if the GNU FDL requires that Invariant Texts be published in unmodified form at least once within a work, how silly is a Big Evil O'Publisher going to look printing a GNU Manual with "their" adulterated version of the GNU Manifesto when the real version, complete with the Endorsements required by the GNU FDL, must also be between the same covers? They'd be a laughing stock, or worse (for them), accused of a Stalinistic attempt to rewrite history as stupid as it would be evil, since the use of the History Eraser would not be permitted them. They could only scrawl their bowdlerized version alongside the original. Again, I must emphasize the point: I am not asking that the freedom be granted for GNU FDL licensees to omit Invariant Texts entirely. > I hope that Debian, if it adopts a version of your guidelines, will > modify them so as to accept the Emacs Manual. I want to see the Emacs Manual in Debian, too, but not at any cost. I personally could live with it being in non-free, and encouraging people to buy paper copies from the FSF, perhaps, but I think such a scenario would be suboptimal, perhaps awkward, and would encourage people to blow this difficult but cordial difference of opinion out of proportion. -- G. Branden Robinson | You don't just decide to break Debian GNU/Linux | Kubrick's code of silence and then email@example.com | get drawn away from it to a http://people.debian.org/~branden/ | discussion about cough medicine.
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