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



 || On Tue, 15 Apr 2003 09:31:26 -0400
 || Peter S Galbraith <psg@debian.org> wrote: 

 psg> It doesn't perserve freedom at all.  It grants any redistributor
 psg> the right to add unremovable rants to the loss of the user's
 psg> freedom.
 
So you are afraid of somebody adding a part that you don't like and
making it invariant? 

I'm sorry, but if somebody wrote something into a document that was
important to him and you didn't like it and removed it to distribute
that as a newer version of the document, you'd be violating that
persons Copyright. GNU Free Documentation License or no.

Of course that person writing something unpleasant into it might be
violating the rights of the previous authors if they feel
misrepresented.

Again that has nothing to do with the GFDL.


 psg> It's copied from http://www.debian.org/Bugs/Developer#severities
 psg> If that text were licensed with invariant sections, I'd have to
 psg> include them in this one-page help screen.

I agree that making that particular text with invariant sections would
be extremely unpractical and make little sense. Nobody says you have
to use invariant sections, though. And I certainly didn't say every
document should contain invariant sections.

However: If it was under GFDL without making use of invariant
sections, you'd be safe to use it the way you described.

Right now you'd probably have to treat it as potentially invariant as
a whole to be on the entirely safe legal side.


 psg> Oh, I'm sorry.  I thought this content was under a free license.
 psg> You now seem to be saying otherwise.  The strings you attach to
 psg> your content make it non-free.
 
Don't misrepresent what I said. 

I haven't attached anything, I was asking a question.

And yes. 

If somebody doesn't like the GPL and tells me: "All I wanted were
these few lines, why should I adhere to the GPL because of that?" my
answer is that they are perfectly welcome to reimplement them
themselves if they don't like the license chosen by the author.


In my understanding freedom is not "I can do whatever I want to
whatever I want." I know there is a fundamental disagreement about
this question between the BSD and the GNU people, but you know which
side I am on.


 psg> There you go again.  It's not about disk space.  It's about
 psg> freedom.

Exactly. 

That is why I didn't accept the technical idea that it wasn't possible
to ship the whole document with the GUI that wishes to display parts
of it or the necessity to hard-code parts of the document into the
program.


 psg> Do you really represent the FSF?

Yes.

 psg> Do they know how you really feel about these issues?

I would think so.


Although I have said it before, I'll say it again: I don't consider
the GFDL to be perfect, but from the free documentation licenses I
have seen so far, it seems to be the most solid one for the reasons
I've described.

I agree that invariant sections can be quite difficult for technical
documentation -- especially if used unwisely.

The GFDL offers the users and distributors such as Debian a higher
degree of legal security, however, as someone who has not used the
possible measure of invariant section will have a much harder time
suing for violation of his or her moral rights than someone using a
license that didn't offer such measures.


In my eyes the GFDL is clearly a free license. 

Of course technical manuals require change. So it may be possible that
authors use invariant sections in an unwise way, covering parts that
need to be changed to keep the manual useful. In that case such
manuals should maybe be put into contrib.

Regards,
Georg

-- 
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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