Re: The debate on Invariant sections (long)
Richard Stallman <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> But what if I encounter an Invariant Section saying that Social
> Security is wrong and that old or diseased people should be left alone
> and not helped by a public service? If I cannot remove this political
> statement, I cannot really regard the manual as free. And I would not
> want to distribute such statement, if I produce a modified version of
> the documentation.
> I disagree with those statements, and I would think twice about
> redistributing a manual in which the author says those things. At the
> same time, I don't think this would mean that said manual is non-free.
> They are different issues.
Oh! I hadn't fully absorbed the following, but it seems then that rms
believes that the restriction like that on the Emacs manual (that you
must redistribute certain extraneous pieces) does not violate freedom
3 of the FSF's Free Software Definition:
* The freedom to improve the program, and release your
improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits
(freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
(whether or not the work in question is documentation), while I
believe the Debian people decided early in the discussion that a
similar restriction on software would violate point 3 of the DFSG:
3. Derived Works
The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must
allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license
of the original software.
Actually, I'm a little unclear on the latter point. To what extent
are non-functional restrictions OK for Debian? For instance, the
GPL's clause 2c (message at an interactive prompt) is uncontroversial,
but the much longer message that the reiserfs utilities printed seemed
to be more questionable (if it were required by the license, and aside
from the fact that it was incompatible with the GPL). Or is the
question whether the restrictions in the GFDL are truly
(I note that FSF's freedom 3 is more focussed on improving the
program, i.e., functionality, while DFSG 3 is stated more broadly.)