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Re: The debate on Invariant sections (long)

Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org> writes:

>     Finally, would you consider a manual that used the GNU FDL -- or claimed
>     to do so -- which marked a non-Secondary Section as Invariant to be
>     Free as in freedom?
> No, it is not free.  If any GNU package contains such a manual,
> please send a bug report to the maintainers and CC me.

This is a problem with the GFDL, which I hope the lawyers can
straighten out.

The GPL has the nice property that if you apply it to your work, you
can't make mistakes: the result is always free, if you really had the
copyright to begin with.

The GFDL has the property that you can make mistakes: that there are
ways in which, if you apply it to your works, the result is not free
(using your more permissive definition of "free").  Can you see if the
lawyers can find a way to redraft it so that an author can be sure
that if he applies it to his work, the result will always be free?

There are two problems that come from this:

First, a free-software-friend might use it but make a mistake,
accidentally making something non-free.

Second, a nefarious bad person might say "our documentation is GFDL,
and therefore free", when in fact it's not free because they have
marked a non-Secondary section as Invariant.


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