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Re: query from Georg Greve of GNU about Debian's opinion of the F DL

 || On Mon, 14 Apr 2003 12:29:52 -0400
 || Peter S Galbraith <psg@debian.org> wrote: 

 psg> My example is _not_ a GUI to text (e.g. like xpdf) but a GUI to
 psg> software.  I'm more interested in hardcoding docs into software,
 psg> producing a derived work composed of both works.

I see. It wasn't entirely clear to me what you were referring to.

The difference between hardcoding (compiling in) a document and
displaying it from a separate file is purely technical. 

So we are truly talking about whether a certain technique should be
allowed under all circumstances.

That was also discussed about the GPL. 

Many people were complaining that it wasn't free because they couldn't
take parts of GPL'ed software and compile them into their proprietary
software any way they liked.

Especially the GPL is striking a new balance between the rights of the
author and the freedoms of the users that puts both above the wishes
of middlemen. 

The GFDL deeks to do the same thing. Only this time you find yourself
in the position of middleman and have to take care to not violate the
rights of either party.

I am sorry you are unhappy about having to use a different technical
implementation than you would have liked to use. As much as I feel
with you, I personally think the freedom this preserves is more
important, though.

 >> That would make the relevant information immediately accessible
 >> without requiring to hide or remove any part of the document.

 psg> I don't want to ship the 5MB documentation with my 100KB GUI,
 psg> just the few paragraphs that matter.

That seems too genereralized to be useful. 

It seems hard to imagine a situation where an obviously very long and
detailed piece of documentation -- 5MB is unusually large for plain
text -- would not be useful as a whole. Or rather that including only
a few paragraphs would be a useful activity. Do you have a concrete

And if it is just a few paragraphs that need to be hard-coded into
your application, why not write them yourself?

If it is more than just a few paragraphs, is this a special situation
where harddisk space is so limited that the whole documentation could
not be reasonable placed somewhere in the system?

If so: the GUI itself would surely be much larger than the few
paragraphs you seek to include. If harddisk space is so limited, it
might be more useful to use some standard text display facility and
include more of the documentation instead.

 psg> It's _very_ weird to have to convince a GNU representative of
 psg> these issues.

As the GNU Free Documentation License is the license that was written
with a lot of thought going into balancing the rights of the author of
a documentation and the rights of the users -- including, but not
limited to, programmers -- I wouldn't find it surprising that GNU
people will seek to explain the background.


Georg C. F. Greve                                       <greve@gnu.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe	                 (http://fsfeurope.org)
Brave GNU World	                           (http://brave-gnu-world.org)

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