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Re: Suggestion to maintainers of GFDL docs

iain d broadfoot <ibroadfo@cis.strath.ac.uk> writes:

> * Brian T. Sniffen (bts@alum.mit.edu) wrote:
>> The MIT/X11 license and the GPL would both work, depending on whether
>> you want a copyleft.  The MIT license can probably be used just by
>> itself.  To use the GPL, though, you should probably put in a section
>> which explains how your document can be viewed as software, along the
>> lines of:
>>     This section is for clarification only.  It is intended to expand
>>     on the wishes of the author, but should not be interpreted to
>>     change the license or copyright status of the work.  The author
>>     intends that the LaTeX2e source for this document be treated as
>>     the "preferred form for modification", which is to say the "Source
>>     Code".  All other formats -- even open, transparent formats such
>>     as plain text or HTML -- are hard for the author to use in
>>     integrating changes to his copy of the document, and so should be
>>     considered "Object Code".  Again, this isn't a binding statement,
>>     and any distribution in a preferred form for modification, such as
>>     plain text or clean HTML, is acceptable as "Source Code" under the
>>     license.  Distribution in a closed, hard to modify format such as
>>     PDF, generated HTML or PostScript, or a Microsoft Word document
>>     should always be treated as "Object Code".
> perhaps change 'clean HTML' to 'w3c valid HTML', with a link to w3c.org's
> validation site?

It would be nice if that worked, but there's plenty of obfuscated HTML
code which is valid.  If you want to claim HTML as a preferred form of
modification for any of my documents, I really want it to be
hand-written.  Others might prefer Dreamweaver-compatible HTML, though.

> and possibly avoid referring directly to MSWord as well - a reference to
> 'binary, closed file formats' would probably do the same job.

Yes, that might be better.  I'd avoid the words "closed" and "binary",
as MS is already trying to redefine both.  Perhaps "formats of
proprietary word processing programs".


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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