Re: The debate on Invariant sections (long)
John Holroyd <firstname.lastname@example.org> said:
>FWIW I think RMS is right to insist that others cannot modify his
>political comments, but I think you are right to say that unmodifiable
>comments and texts (UTs) have no place being mandatorily included in
>the functional world of Free Software.
>Personally, I found a lot of the GNU philosophical texts included in
>emacs to be very interesting and educational, they led me to the GNU
>and Debian projects, it would be a shame to remove them simply to prove
>a point when they are fundamental in helping new users to understand
>the basis of the Free Software movement.
>Would a possible answer be that distribution of the UTs is not
>mandatory, so purely functional versions of the package can be
>distributed, but if the UTs are distributed then they remain
>unmodifiable? It looks like a sensible compromise to me.
A fair number of people (like me) think that this would be a reasonable
answer and a sensible compromise. (Although, to be fair, a fair number
of others think that philosophical texts demand modifiability to be free.)
Unfortunately, RMS has said "NO" by means of the GNU FDL.
So-called "invariant sections" simply cannot be removed, which is what
got our attention in the first place.
This is the point on which Debian has consensus and cannot compromise.
Unremovable material tied to functional manuals is pernicious.
>These sections are consistent with freedom because practically speaking
>they don't stop people from making the software do what they want it to
>do, or the making the manual the manual teach what they want it to
Many examples have been given for why this is *false*, and they're
pretty much all tied to the *non-removability* rather than the
non-modifiability. Should we repeat them again?