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Re: Proposed statement wrt GNU FDL

> On Thu, Apr 24, 2003 at 06:34:08PM +0200, Henning Makholm wrote:
> >   If the rule had, instead been, that Invariant Sections could not
> >   themselves be modified, but could freely be omitted entirely in
> >   derived works, Debian would be able to distribute GDFL'ed
> >   documentation. 

On Fri, 25 Apr 2003, Anthony Towns wrote:
> We can distribute GNU FDL'ed docs as is -- they simply have to not include
> any invariant sections.
> I don't think it makes sense to include invariant sections ever -- whether
> they can be removed by others or not. We wouldn't accept anything that
> is entirely invariant as being DFSG-free -- so it doesn't make sense to
> accept books with chapters that're invariant as DFSG-free.

A GFDL document with no unmodifiable portions is free, but can be 
hijacked by someone later adding an invariant section.

A GFDL document with non-removable non-modifiable sections is non-free.

A document with non-modifiable removable sections (I don't think the GFDL 
has any provision for this, I'm including it just for completeness) is not 
free itself, but the portion of the document which is modifiable can be 
made free by removing the non-modifiable sections.

The fourth case (modifiable non-removable sections) is irrelevant, as one 
possible modification is removal.

> If we are willing to accept invariant chapters in DFSG-free
> documentation, I don't see how we could possibly claim the GNU FDL is not
> DFSG-free. Merely being able to delete something doesn't make it free --
> I can delete MS Office easily enough, eg.

Right.  The ability to remove it only preserves the freedom of the 
attached work, not the unmodifiable portion itself.

> If we're going to make an exception for the GNU Manifesto -- and I think
> we should -- let's be clear and deliberate about how we do it. Let's note
> that it's completely non-free, and collect it, and any other defining
> documents we might want to make similar exceptions for, and put them
> in doc-debian with our own manifest and social contract, rather than
> scattered through various manuals.

Or better yet, put anything that's not freely modifiable (including the 
Social Contract and GNU Manifesto) in non-free, and work toward making 
them free.  

Claiming that documents which do not allow derived works can still be
part of Debian is arrogant, hypocritical, and simply wrong.
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>  

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