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Re: Documentation licenses (GFDL discussion on debian-legal)

On Tue, Dec 03, 2002 at 09:25:58PM -0600, Eric Baudais wrote:
> The GFDL does not limit any changes to the body of the text.

It can prevent you from removing or modifying attached bodies of
text, in some uses. This is non-free. Deal with it.

> The reason for documentation guidelines because the DFSG and GPL only
> protects code.

This has been frequently challenged, I won't bother repeating the
relevant points here.

> text has a longer and more established legal history than code does.  If
> a person would print out documentation and reprint it under their name
> the GPL and DFSG will not apply.

Bullshit. If you are attempting to imply that in your part of the
world, printed documentation has special intrinsic rights that are not
ordinarily permitted under the GPL, then the GPL prohibits you from
printing that documentation in the first place. I direct your
attention to sections 4, 5, 7 and 9 of the GPL. Furthermore I direct
your attention to the differences between versions 1 and 2 of the GPL,
which amoung other things reworded some parts so that it was not
specific to software.

Just because the FDL contains the word "Documentation" in its name
does not mean that it is the only GNU-approved license suitable for
documentation. It appears to be targetted at commercial groups who are
interested in producing relatively free documentation. It can be used
in a DFSG-free manner, but unlike the GPL, it is not DFSG-free in all

> The vast majority of the documentation contained within all the GNOME
> core packages is licensed under the GFDL.  If Debian were to declare the
> GFDL a non-free license then almost all the GNOME packages would have to
> be put into non-free.

Wrong. The vast majority of the GNOME documentation is licensed under
the FDL version 1.1 (or later) with no invariant sections, no front
cover texts, and no back cover texts, and is therefore DFSG-free (for

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ | Dept. of Computing,
 `. `'                          | Imperial College,
   `-             -><-          | London, UK

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