Re: query from Georg Greve of GNU about Debian's opinion of the FDL
Hi Georg C. F. Greve,
> As to the question whether or not software and documentation should be
> treated alike, I'd like to say that I am very much in favor of a more
> differentiated approach.
> Mixing things that are in truth very different is one of the worst
> effects of the "intellectual property" terminology and has done a lot of
> harm. Remember that a lot of the less intelligent legal rulings
> regarding software have their roots in this unwarranted assumption.
> Now asking to treat documentation/books like software looks like inverse
> repetition of that mistake.
(p "Code and data are not easy to distinguish. The same HTML markup that
people consider is data can be evaluated as function calls in a computer
program. One typically sees this in languages that allow code and data to
be merged, like Lisp. This string is an argument to the function named P
and can be evaluated within a computer program.")
(p "In a paradigm where code and data are indistinct it is imperative that
the licence for the data is compatible with the licence for the code.
Otherwise there may be no optimal way to merge documentation with the
computer program. Documents may remain lifeless and outside the system
as otherwise they could form part of a derived work that is illegal to
distribute due to conflicting licensing provisions.")
(p "The boon for GNU is that data becomes affected by the dynamic linking
claims of software licenses like the GPL. If the program that transforms
these functions into text, HTML, PDF, etc. is GPLed then the FSF may claim
that the documentation may only be distributed under the GPL.")
(p "The FSF is shortsighted in promoting any documentation licences that
are incompatible with the software licenses they also promote. If you
haven't already got the point that code and data/documentation can be the
same then I suggest you look at the source to my tentative software
adoption paper available at "
(a :href "https://macrology.co.nz/software-adoption.html?source")
". The source contains not only a computer model, equation and graph
generation code but the entire text of the document. The document is the
code and the code is the document. Since this is all my own work applying a
compatible software licence was not difficult. It would be unfortunate if
software developers couldn't use the source because the source was
documentation; or documentation developers couldn't use the source because
the source was code.")
(p "Regards," (br)