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



On Tue, Dec 03, 2002 at 06:20:29PM -0800, Mark Rafn wrote:
> 
> > Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña wrote:
> >> 	Forking a project is not the same as putting words in my mouth I
> >> didn't say and that's what Invariant sections are for.
> 
> It's no more (nor less) putting words in your mouth than it is putting 
> words in the Apache Group's mouth to distribute a modified httpd.
>
> If you have statements to make that you don't want people to be able 
> to change and reuse, that's your choice.  It doesn't belong in Debian.  
>
	Then please remove the GPL from all debian packages, and make non-free
all those that include it. Or can the GPL be modified, can it be changed
at will? No. Does it make it non-free: NO.

(...)
> 
> > The "Invariant Sections" in the GFDL are far more restrictive:
> > not allowed to ever modify or remove them, no matter how much you modify
> > the rest of the documentation.  And even if you lift only a single chapter
> > from a GFDLed document, you have to copy all of its Invariant Sections
> > verbatim.
> 
> Invariant (unmodifiable and unremovable) is a showstopper.  Just plain 
> non-free, IMO.

	Under your view all the documents that provide the licenses in
_all_ our packages make _all_ our packages in main non-free. Please,
think again.

> 
> > The combination of immutability and nonremovability is what makes them
> > non-free, in my opinion.  I wouldn't have a problem with some immutable
> > sections, as long as they contain no technical information and can be
> > discarded in the event of a significant fork.
> 
> I'd argue that immutable (removable but unmodifiable) sections must be 
> discarded before becoming part of Debian.  

Please read what the FSF has to say about this:

"When should a section be invariant?  First of all, keep in mind that a
section that treats technical material cannot be invariant. Only a
secondary section can be invariant, and a technical section is not a
secondary section. 

If the section is text that you're not allowed to modify, such as a copy
of the GNU GPL, then it must be invariant. You can't give permission to
modify it if you don't have permission to modify it. 

(One consequence is that you cannot use preexisting text which covers
technical material if you don't have permission to allow modification of
that text.) 

When a section discusses the philosophy of free software, it is a good
idea to make that section invariant. For instance, when we put the GNU
Manifesto in a manual, or when we include a section explaining why free
documentation is important, we make that section invariant. " 
(http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl-howto.html)

Invariant sections are non-technical opinions (see
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl-howto-opt.html) that reflect the author's
opinions. You cannot remove them, _but_ you can add your own (for example
to "discuss" what the original author said). 

In any case, if we disagree on this. We could probably agree on this:

"No document using the GFDL will be consider DFSG-free if using invariant
sections. With the exception of Invariant Sections that include the
document's license (the GFDL), or a brief history of the author as
related to the document itself."

This makes GFDL documents "free in the Debian sense" unless they don't
follow what we decide are proper guidelines for document re-use. Don't
they? Why don't we discuss which 'ors' should be added as conditions
rather on debating wether or not Invariant = non-free? (which we are not
going to agree on).

Regards

Javi


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