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Re: Proposed statement wrt GNU FDL

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:

> On Sun, Apr 20, 2003 at 05:35:14AM +0300, Richard Braakman wrote:
>> > Debian's stance on the GNU Free Documentation License
>> > ...OR NOT (completely unofficial, draft, blahblah)
>> (Section I, 'Preserve the section entitled "History"', is also a candidate
>>  for this list.)
> Is it? I couldn't see how it was much different to the GPL's "You must
> cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you
> changed the files". I suppose having a History section like:
> 	2003-05-01 Title: _GNU Manifesto_      Debian
> 	           (Extracted the GNU Manifesto from the GDB docs)
> 	2003-04-28 Title: _GDB Documentation_  FSF
> 	2003-04-12 Title: _GDB Documentation_  Debian
> 	2003-04-11 Title: _GDB Documentation_  FSF
> 	2003-04-01 Title: _GDB Documentation_  Debian
> 	2003-03-20 Title: _GDB Documentation_  FSF
> could get tiresome. Does that make it non-free, though? I can't see any
> reason why it should.
> There's been some question whether the front-cover texts are DFSG
> free. Considering we accept the obnoxious advertising clause, I can't
> see any reason for them not to be.

The differences between the GPL's requirements and the GFDL's
requirements are in where the required sections must be placed: the
GPL, as you've noted elsewhere, usually makes special requirements
only of the source, and then requires that the source be available.
The GFDL tends to make requirements of all forms of the document.

More importantly, for both the front cover texts and the history
section, the GPL does not require its changelog be in the source file
itself; it is enough to accompany the work with a separate changelog
file.  The GFDL's requirement that the History section be part of the
work itself makes it unusable for a wide class of documents and
formats, including video, audio, and static images.

> In particular: for emacs21, ``with the Invariant Sections being "The
> GNU Manifesto", "Distribution" and "GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE"'', and
> for gdb ``with the Invariant Sections being "A Sample GDB Session" and
> "Free Software"'' and ``with the Invariant Sections being "Stabs Types"
> and "Stabs Sections"''

How can the sample GDB Session possibly be a Secondary Section?  Or is
this just a good example of how confusing the Invariant Section rules
can be, even to the FSF?


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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