Re: The debate on Invariant sections (long)
A number of people have posted long lists of supposed reasons why the
GFDL is not a free license. I have not seen one that is valid, but I
cannot comment on each point. It takes longer to refute an attack
than to make one, and the critics outnumber me. Even supposing I
could afford to spend full time on this discussion, I could not keep
up with them.
Instead I am addressing the broader issues that underlie many of the
objections, using particular examples as appropriate.
Many of the objections to the GFDL are based on a specific kind of
exaggeration: pointing at an inconvenience and calling it an
impossibility. Here is one example:
I wanted to make a BSD DIFF manual by editing the GNU DIFF manual,
but I *couldn't*
I believe he can.
(cover texts say "GNU" which wouldn't be accurate).
The cover text says "A GNU Manual". This would be a modified version
of a GNU Manual, so I think the statement is accurate enough.
The requirement for these cover texts does not stop him from adapting
the GNU Diff manual to make the "BSD Diff Manual". Substantively, he
is free to make these modifictions, but there is a requirement on how
to package them. A requirement on how to package a modified version
does not make a license non-free. The point is that people are free
to make the substantive changes they want.
Many free software licenses have requirements for packaging modified
versions. If we removed all parts of the system whose requirements on
packaging are distasteful to some, little of the system would remain.