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Re: license requirements for a book to be in free section

On Tue, Jan 29, 2002 at 07:17:03PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Sven <luther@dpt-info.u-strasbg.fr> writes:
> > The question is that we will block this package from enterring debian because
> > of a clause which may, maybe, also have blocked other packages which we would
> > not like being removed. But again, it can be dealt with at another time.
> If you know of any, we should discuss them.  Are you saying the rule
> is being applied unfairly?  If so, we need to have the details so they
> can be discussed.

Sorry, i have not time to investigate, but i am sure many of the documentation
we have cause problems, and we didn't look into it too much, because, well, it
is documentation and not software. Also i guess this was the reason about some
mails a while ago which looked into documentation issues and licences. Also i
think many of our documentation may fail DFSG 2, about source code issuses.

> The real problem seems to be not the issue about aggregation, but
> specifically the case that distribution on different kinds of media is
> being treated differently, in a way which lets one be free, but not
> the other. 

Mmm, yes and no, the aggregation clause would be ok with Oreilly if it is read
like it is written, altough i don't think they would like one liner

But then, i would really much like to hear from them or stefano about this.

> > But still, what you are opposing here, is the freedom of access to knowledge
> > to the freedom of making money out of it. Which one do you feel is more
> > important ? (Sorry, couldn't resist adding one more argument).
> Um, I'm in favor of both.  I have no objection to O'Reilly making
> money by selling books.  Free software (and free manuals) does not
> imply some kind of communistic lack-of-money world.

But there is a contradiction. Imagine the value that a book in electronic form
can bring, not to me in france, nor you in the US(?), but to someone in frnch
speaking africa, who has no shop were to buy the original oreilly book. Here
you limit this knowledge to those who have access to the printed version or to
a fast internet connection, and block lot of other people from having access
to it. 

It has not much to do with a crusade from debian against oreilly about

> > Oreilly is a book publishing business, they had this book written, they
> > published it, they distribute it all over the world, they want to make money
> > from it, a part of which goes to the authors of the book. 
> The FSF is also a book publishing business.  The have books written,
> they publish them, they distribute them all over the world, they want
> to make money from them--and guess what--they don't find the need to
> have these kinds of restrictions on the manuals.  (*)

Sure, ...

but in this case, the main business of the FSF is not book publishing, altough
it will come, but, well, free software. It's not exactly the same.

> > Debian is a software distribution (or at least that comes closest to what we
> > do, but i guess we are much more than that, and the guardians of the only tru
> > way too :))), we deal in free software, and documentation for it in
> > electronic form, not book publishing.
> Where do you get "electronic form" from the DFSG?

Ok, i am doing my home work, and actually reading the stuff ...

DFSG = Debian Free _Software_ Guidelines.

Also, ...

(From the social contract)
Our Priorities are Our Users and Free Software

We will be guided by the needs of our users and the free-software community.
We will place their interests first in our priorities. We will support the
needs of our users for operation in many different kinds of computing
environment. We won't object to commercial software that is intended to run on
Debian systems, and we'll allow others to create value-added distributions
containing both Debian and commercial software, without any fee from us. To
support these goals, we will provide an integrated system of high-quality,
100% free software, with no legal restrictions that would prevent these kinds
of use.

Notice, how it speaks about software all the time, not about printed
documentation, notice also how it speaks about computing environment, not
printed books.

And finally :

DFSG 1.  Free Redistribution

The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party from
selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software
distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license
may not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

Notice how it speaks about a component of an aggregate _software_
distribution, containing programs from several different sources.

Here it clearly states that you have to aggregate between programs, that is
meaningfull pieces of software, and not one line empty content addition. And i
would like very much to see what kind of interpretation yields to the
contrary, apart from the wishes of the people on this list.

Also, notice that in any case, a printed book is asimilable to _hardware_ as
opposed to _software_, altough it seems many don't think so.

Anyway, the real problem, is, again, if we want to interpret things as this,
then it doesn't pay to take the 'guardian of the only truth' approach i see
taking here, but go the long way, clarify the DFSG, and vote on the subject,
altough it may be a lengthy and hazardous process, which may well not pass, or
better yet, write a DFDG, or something such, which would be the equivalent of
the DFSG for documentation.


Sven Luther

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