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FSF has published GNU FDL version 1.2

The Free Software Foundation has published a new revision of the GNU
Free Documentation License, version 1.2.


In my assessment, it does not substantially address the major concerns
that the Debian Project has raised.

The GNU FDL, version 1.2, is not necessarily DFSG-non-free when applied
to a work, but it can be employed in ways that are DFSG-non-free.

As a first approximation, it appears to me that the following conditions
must be met for a work licensed under the GNU FDL 1.2 to be DFSG-free:

1) There must be no Invariant Sections.
2) There must be no Cover Texts.

Further analysis of the GNU FDL will likely center on section 4
("MODIFICATIONS"), and whether and how each of the many requirements
therein mesh with DFSG 3 ("Derived Works").  Specifically, 4I seems
similar in spirit to a requirement under the GNU GPL, which will already
accept as a DFSG-free license.  I am less certain about 4K.

I have made available several files to faciliatate further analysis of
the changes to the GNU FDL, and the FSF's consideration of the comments
its solicited from the public regarding its draft of version 1.2.

1) text of the GNU FDL, version 1.1

2) text of the GNU FDL, version 1.2

3) a unified diff between versions 1.1 and 1.2 of the GNU FDL

4) a wdiff ("word diff") between versions 1.1 and 1.2 of the GNU FDL

5) the draft of the GNU FDL, version 1.2, which the FSF published for
   public commentary earlier this year

6) a copy of the comments the FSF received to its draft version of
   version 1.2 of the GNU FDL, as edited by the FSF

7) a unified diff between the GNU FDL 1.2 draft and the final version

8) a wdiff ("word diff") between the GNU FDL 1.2 draft and the final version

The Free Software Foundation has heard us and, apparently, taken our
perspective into account as much as they plan to.  It is now time for us
to decide if and how we will apply the DFSG to the GNU FDL in a manner
consistent with our Social Contract.  Our decisions on these matters
will affect our ability to continue to distribute certain documents as
part of the Debian system.

G. Branden Robinson                |    America is at that awkward stage.
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    It's too late to work within the
branden@debian.org                 |    system, but too early to shoot the
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    bastards.           -- Claire Wolfe

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