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

Glenn Maynard <g_deb@zewt.org> writes:

> On Thu, Apr 17, 2003 at 03:05:48PM -0400, Brian T. Sniffen wrote:
>> But the issue here is not copying or modifying an existing card, but
>> deriving a reference card from the Emacs manual.
> If the documentation was licensed under the BSD license, wouldn't you
> still have to include the full license text on the card?  If the GPL,
> a change list as well?

No.  I could include them on another piece of paper with the card.
Those licenses merely require text be included *with* the document.
The GFDL mandates that invariant sections be part of the document,
which is much worse.

For example, if I want to create some art with Richard Stallman's
photograph over a backdrop of text from the emacs manual, I have to
include the GNU manifesto as *part of the picture*.  It's not enough
to include it alongside the picture, it has to be part of the same

In contrast, the free GPL or free BSD license lets me just include a
copyright statement for the text, and a copy of the license, with the

> If these are a problem as well, the argument against the GFDL here is
> less interesting; and if they're not, this GFDL argument probably isn't,
> either.
> There seem to be other, more convincing arguments against invariant
> sections.

For example, if I want to perform a dramatic reading of a page from
the Emacs Manual in some horribly expensive format, I have to read a
bunch of invariant sections with it.

I agree that there are more convincing philosophical arguments to
avoid invariant sections, and to consider invariant sections
non-free.  But this is an example of a category of practical problems
introduced by invariant sections, something which can be presented to
those who say this is merely a philosophical issue.


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