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Re: Proposed statement wrt GNU FDL

Hi Matthew and all,

On Thursday 24 April 2003 13:21, Matthew Palmer wrote:

> I agree with what's expressed in the FAQ, but apart from the
> section on why we think software and documentation should be
> treated equally under the DFSG (quite a good argument there,
> BTW) there's nothing there about why we can't as a project,
> for instance, just relax the rules of the DFSG generally.

As a Debian user, I am glad that there is this set of rules -- 
namely the DFSG -- that strictly followed, help keeping Debian 
100 % free software. I hope that these rules will not be 
softened, so that in the end, Debian becomes a second SuSE.

I am also glad that the Debian project treats all different 
sorts of content the same way, as I am very enthusiastic about 
the idea of a transition of the principles of free software 
towards other areas. The FSF has quite disappointed me in this 
regard, as they not only deny the leadership of a general 
free-everything-movement, but also discourage people from being 
consequent by giving them a bad example. For me, this is another 
reason why Debian should keep its rules as they are, and 
continue to apply them consequently.

On the other hand, the DFSGly non-free docs that are about to be 
thrown out of main are at least as freely distributable as any 
other package in main. This is a quality that many packages in 
non-free do not share with them. As I don't have non-free in my 
apt/sources.list, from my point of view, moving these docs to 
the 'non-free' section would practically mean the same thing as 
moving them to the trash dump. I guess this step would be far 
too radical.

Also, it seems to be more difficult to write and test 
documentation than software, as it works on human beings, not 
machines. Further, there still is too few good documentation. 
This makes me think that trashing freely distributable 
documentation would not be wise.

So, now I'm repeating an idea that I alredy mentioned here, 
after selfhtml had been kicked:

 * Create a section 'distributable' that is between main and
   non-free, for stuff that is not free WRT modification,
   availability of the source code etc., but at least freely
   distributable in any medium, by anybody, for any price.

 * Therefore, create a subset of the GFDL (a 'relaxed' GFDL)
   which regulates what can go in there and what not, but not as
   a replacement of the current GFDL, but rather a different set
   of rules for a different purpose.

I think this would be a good compromise for those people who 
want non-free docs out of main, and those who don't want them 
trown onto the 'non-free' trash dump, and those who want both.


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