Re: GDB manual
Then, I would like you to explain why you think a document with
invariant sections is free for the GNU definition of freedom, instead of
repeating around and around you are not convinced by our arguments.
The reason I have said that a few times is that I have seen various
messages here that don't seem to recognize that what the GFDL says is
not a Debian decision. You can suggest changes but cannot demand
changes. I'm not likely to accept suggestions that come with what
feels like a pressure campaign.
By contrast, the question of which licenses to accept in Debian is a
Debian decision. I make suggestions and offer arguments about this,
but I do not try to make demands about it, and I am not running a
To ask why a license is free is not a well-formed question, because
when a license is free, that is not the case for any specific reason.
A non-free license is always non-free for specific reasons. A free
license is free because there is no reason why it is not.
But perhaps I understand the question you have in mind. If you are
asking why the invariant sections provide sufficient freedom to
modify, the answer is that people can make whatever substantive
changes they wish in the technical functionality of the manual.
I use that general criterion to evaluate the freedom to modify, for
software and for manuals. However, software and manuals are used
differently, so the licenses that meet the criterion for software are
not necessarily the same as those that meet the criterion for manuals.
To call a program or a manual non-free is a serious accusation, and it
needs more grounds than inconvenience alone. The invariant section is
a requirement on packaging of modified versions of the technical
material, and that is an area where tolerance is called for. In the
early days of the GNU Project I had to consider whether the license of
TeX was acceptable. I concluded that we should not reject a package
merely because of packaging requirements, any sort of packaging
requirements, as long as the functionality of the work can be changed
in whatever way may be necessary.