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Re: REVISED PROPOSAL regarding DFSG 3 and 4, licenses, and modifiable text

On Wed, Dec 12, 2001 at 03:23:39PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> I consider "being able to distribute the FSF's stuff in main" both a goal,
> and a useful indication of how satisfactory the DFSG is (since the Free
> Software Foundation are the authoritative source for one definition of
> "free").
> I'm not at all impressed with the gdb docs;

As far as I know, all the GNU Manuals *except* the Emacs and GCC manuals
were previously licensed under very simple, DFSG-free terms.

I'm certain this is true for the gawk, glibc, gdb, make, and texinfo
manuals, since I own paper copies of these.

So, we could always resurrect these older manuals and keep them in main.

Yes, I'm basically saying the 4-letter F word.

> and I'm becoming increasingly convinced that generalising the FSF's
> desire to ram political screeds down everyone's throats to allowing
> anyone to shove their favourite rant into Debian is a really bad idea,
> and that seems to be the sole purpose of the GNU FDL.

I have to agree.  As I stated several times in my exchanges with RMS,
I'm not particularly afraid of what the FSF may do, though I personally
differ with their tactics as embodied by the GNU FDL.

I'm nervous about what other parties may do to take advantage of the
latitude we'd have to grant everyone to accomodate the FSF, if we didn't
want to apply a double standard.

> Following this line of argument leads me to either saying:
> 	* No unmodifiable text is allowed, apart from the license; or

...and copyright notices (it can beinfringment of copyright to remove
these anyway, but we might as well be cognizant of this).  With that
modification, I support the above position.

> 	* Unmodifiable text is allowed, but must be permitted to be removed
> either of which would drop a lot of GNU docs from main.

I essentially proposed this to RMS and he rejected it.

> 	a) Ignore the issue, hope it goes away, be inconsistent
> 	b) Special case RMS/the FSF
> 	c) Allow it for *everyone*
> 	d) Drop the GNU manuals as non-free, and write our own essay
> 	   about the importance of free documentation...
> (a) and (b) suck for obvious reasons, but at least *work*.
> (c) seems like it'd quickly result in every other quick hack's manpage
>     containing the results of some bright-eyed epiphany about why software
>     design really isn't important after all, or how free software sucks and
>     open source rules, or how we should all just get along, or why George
>     W.'s really a terrorist and how the USA's been asking for it all these
>     years anyway, or somethin about some other exciting issue of the day.
> (d) makes it hard for users to access a lot of good documentation, that's
>     "widely" considered "free".
> Of course, we do still have non-free, so (d) isn't that bad, I
> suppose. And the results of us doing it would probably be like a "4th
> of July" show (says someone who's never been in the US on July 4th),
> and free entertainment is always good...

I concur with your analysis and prefer position (d) over (c).

Note, however, that not ALL the GNU Manuals have been boilerplated.  At
least not yet.  So some of them could stay anyway.  See Message-ID:
<[🔎] 20011210070318.GB14033@deadbeast.net> for a lengthy, but not
exhaustive, analysis.

Also, we could set up a bit of a firebreak by pointing out the GNU FDL
per se isn't DFSG-incompatible; only certain applications of it are,
just as is true of the OPL.

G. Branden Robinson                |     If you have the slightest bit of
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     intellectual integrity you cannot
branden@debian.org                 |     support the government.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |     -- anonymous

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