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Re: distributable but non-free documents



On Tue, Mar 05, 2002 at 12:57:40AM +0100, Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 04, 2002 at 11:31:58PM +0100, Jeroen Dekkers wrote:
> > However, I don't see why that should give much problems. You don't
> > want to change to standards anyhow.
> 
> I would.
> 
> For example, I would take some of the RFC's, c&p from them, add texinfo
> markup and include bits of them in documentation of GNU software.

IANAL, I don't know if adding texinfo markup to them is considered
making a derivative work or just distributing, you don't change the
text itself. Adding texinfo markup just changes how the text is
displayed, which is already different if you read it with less, emacs,
mozilla or just use a printer to make a hardcopy.

> I would like to do the same with C99, POSIX, and other standards.

I agree. I've whished more than once that I could just do
"C-h i m posix". And I also agree that those standards should be
free. But when is it free? :)

> I can't.  When I find a bug in the glibc manual, and read up POSIX to find
> out what it should be, I have to close my eyes for a minute and try to
> forget what I just read before writing a bug report.  It would be easier to
> move the mouse, c&p the missing sentence and paste it into the glibc manual.
> But I am not allowed to do that, by copyright.

To quote the RFC copyright notice from RFC 2026 "Internet Standards
Process":

         This document and translations of it may be copied and
         furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or
         otherwise explain it or assist in its implmentation may be
         prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in
         part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above
         copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such
         copies and derivative works.  However, this document itself may
         not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright
         notice or references to the Internet Society or other Internet
         organizations, except as needed for the  purpose of developing
         Internet standards in which case the procedures for copyrights
         defined in the Internet Standards process must be followed, or
         as required to translate it into languages other than English

I think the glibc manual is a "derivative work that comment on or
otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation (Note that RFC
2026 has a typo :-))". If adding textinfo markup is considered a
derivative work, then it's allowed under this license if I'm right,
but IANAL.

I agree with you that POSIX is non-free (and that should change!), but
the original dicussion was about the RFC copyright. I still don't see
how this license really restricts the user, the things you were
talking are allowed. Enlighten me if I'm wrong.

The problem is that the Debian Free Documentation Guidelines don't
exist and that documentation is really different from software.

> > But other than that, I don't see how it restricts the user. 
> 
> Just because you don't see it, it doesn't mean that it isn't there (many
> politicians probably don't see how software patents restrict free software
> developers either ;)

I think they will probably see that it restrict free software
developers if you tell them. The problem is that they should also care
about that (and probably know about free software in the first
place!).

Jeroen Dekkers
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