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

On Wed, 2002-12-04 at 15:58, Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 03, 2002 at 08:31:56PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> > Documentation *must* change to adapt to software, if the software can
> > change.
> > 
> *When* documentation applies to software. Gosh, has nobody thought of Debian
> distributing documentation that does _not_ apply to documentation? Sample:
> - the Project gutenberg texts (not that their license is currently free)

Licensing aside, why would (and should) Debian distribute famous novels?
An installer for famous novels (c.f. gutenbook), sure, but why the
novels themselves?

> - the licenses under /usr/share/common-licenses

Licensing texts are immutable because they are a legal contract. You
can, in fact, "modify" them by licensing your program under a license
that bears a strong resemblance to the GNU GPL but is not the GNU GPL
(say, removal of a clause you don't like), or even the GNU GPL itself
with an exception. But then it's not the GNU GPL.

> - the History of the Debian Project

This document is currently licensed under the GNU GPL, despite your
claims it cannot be applied to software.

> People, software _needs_ documentation. Documentation does not need, at all,
> software to exist.

So what does this hypothetical documentation document, then? I think you
mean to say *writing* does not need software to exist, but Debian is not
the place to put a reposity of the world's literature, especially the
world's non-free literature.

Please, explain the following:
1) Why the GNU GPL is not suitable for non-software, despite it being
used for such content over and over.
2) How "documentation" is legally distinct from "software".
3) Why we don't need the same freedoms regarding our documentation that
we do with our software.

You keep asserting all three, but never actually explain why, except for
vague references to "why writers write".
- Joe Wreschnig <piman@debian.org>    -    http://www.sacredchao.net
  "What I did was justified because I had a policy of my own... It's
   okay to be different, to not conform to society."
                                   -- Chen Kenichi, Iron Chef Chinese

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