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

On Wed, Apr 16, 2003 at 10:52:55AM +0200, Georg C. F. Greve wrote:
> 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.

I find this argument unconvincing, for two reasons.

First, Invariant sections don't actually accomplish this.  Only
Secondary Sections can be marked Invariant.  Other sections,
i.e. the meat of the document, cannot be so marked under the
GFDL.  Therefore, using the GFDL says nothing about the author's
claims to moral rights on the majority of the document.

Second, documentation is often just as functional as the programs
it describes, and this goes both ways.  Consider TeX, where the
documentation and the code were created as a single work.  Consider
also how protective Donald Knuth has been of TeX's rendering
algorithms.  I don't see why the code-part-of-TeX should be treated
under entirely different rules than the book-part-of-TeX, and I
don't see how you could seriously claim that there are no aesthetic
components to the way TeX lays out documents.  I don't see this
critical difference that makes Invariant Sections necessary for
documentation but leaves the GPL just fine for code.

Richard Braakman

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