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

"Georg C. F. Greve" <greve@gnu.org> writes:

>  1)  The GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) is a free documentation
>      license; recommended for use in Debian without invariant
>      sections.
>  2a) Documents without invariant sections go into main.

This seems fairly reasonable -- though I think there are other
portions folks have problems with (cover texts, for example).

>  2b) Documents with invariant sections are to be reviewed by the
>      Debian Documentation Project whether the invariant section makes
>      the document technically unmaintainable.

Technical maintainability is important for deciding whether we can
put something in non-free (i.e., not part of Debian, but we distribute
it nonetheless).  But going in main (or contrib) depends on passing
the DFSG (as interpreted by debian-legal & ftp masters).  (Contrib is
for things that depend on non-free packages, but are themselves DFSG

>      [An example for non-maintainable technical parts would be if the
>       documentation of a web browser has the description of the key
>       bindings in an invariant section.]

My understanding is that this isn't possible with the GFDL, as
invariant sections must not pertain to the subject matter of the
document as a whole.  In fact, how does that relate to providing a
defense against moral rights of authors, since the license doesn't
permit certain kinds of invariant texts?

>      If the invariant sections still allow maintaining the document
>      technically, it can go into main.

This doesn't seem very likely.

> That said, I think I've done what I could to explain the situation to
> the best of my knowledge and provide a viable solution. So I would
> like to put this to rest for now and suggest to maybe reexamine the
> situation in half a year, or so.

I'm glad you've taken the time to do so; thank you.  I think we've
been hesitating to do anything about this because moving FSF licensed
documents into non-free is a rather big statement, and not one we're
eager to make.

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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