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Re: The debate on Invariant sections (long)

Kapil Hari Paranjape <kapil@imsc.res.in> wrote:

> RMS responded:
> > That description is misleading--we are not "headed" anywhere on this
> > issue.  We are already there, and we have been there for many years.
> > We have been using invariant sections since the 80s, and we continue
> > to use them.
> >
> > Today some people in Debian object to the practice, but I don't think
> > their reasons are valid.  I thought about the ethics of this issue
> > long ago, and decided that invariant sections are legitimate.  So we
> > are not going to change the policy.
> So it does look like GNU is going to stick with the Invariant sections
> for a while. I would like to humbly (as a non-developer and occasional
> reader of debian-legal) make the following suggestions:
> 1. Debian should indicate in its documentation that (under the DFSG)
>    the GFDL is free only if there are no invariant sections.
> 2. In addition, (indicate that) material that is under the GFDL and
>    contains invariant sections that are already distributed by Debian
>    separately (such as the GNU manifesto and the various licenses) *is*
>    (as far as I can see from the GFDL) distributable by Debian but is
>    non-free. Clearly a clarifying mail (regarding distributability)
>    from GNU, or failing that from the author(s) of the documentation
>    would help.
> 3. Indicate (on some DFSG related page) that Debian has encouraged(*)
> and
>    continues to encourage the distribution of author supplied documents
>    that accompany software even when such distribution is not legally
>    mandated by the license or required in order for the software to
>    function. (*) There are numerous cases such as "emacs",
>    "vim" and the write-ups associated with various network sniffing
>    tools.

I agree with all your points.  I think we should move forward moving
those docs to non-free.  It'll mean a few packages from non-free on my
systems, but if that's what RMS wants it's not a huge deal for me as
long as they are still available.

What that happens, I'll get my package of dwarfs-debian-guide moved to
non-free as well (it contains a invariant section and a back-cover text).


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