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Re: The debate on Invariant sections (long)

> From: Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>
> This problem is unfortunate, but no worse in the case of two ways of
> using the GFDL than with a pair of two different free software
> licenses.

True, but this kind of problem never bites people who just use the
GPL, while it seems to be biting people who "just use" the GFDL with
alarming frequency.  I would note that *even the FSF* has had trouble
using the GFDL properly so as to avoid this problem.  And even the FSF
will be bitten by it again, should someone add some text to the GDB
manual which the FSF incorporates back into its master copy, and then
the FSF decides to modify the that document's invariant parts.

The GFDL with any kind of invariant thing activated seems to largely
break the "commons" property.  In effect, each document is an isolated
island, with serious transfer of text between documents made quite
difficult.  (At least, unless the same entity is in a position to
relicense them both.  In which case even a completely proprietary
license would allow sharing, so this isn't a counterexample.)

Regardless of whether this is an issue of "freedom", it does seem to
be a rather serious practical problem.

> From: tb@becket.net (Thomas Bushnell, BSG)
> Let me point out that just as Debian doesn't get to demand that the
> GFDL be changed, so also the FSF does not have a role in determining
> the interpretation of Debian's standards.

I must take exception to this.  Debian does indeed listen to the FSF,
take its needs seriously, and listen to its arguments with an open
mind and more importantly with an open heart.

We are on the same side, working for the same ends.  Debian is
distributing the FSF's GNU system (plus a bunch of free applications
and a kernel), a fact which we insist on acknowledging in the very
name of our distribution.  We nurture a Debian GNU/Hurd, and our
founding documents codify ideas taken from the FSF.  All of us were
moved and motivated by RMS's eloquent writings on the subject.  Debian
has very close relations with upstream GNU developers, and strives to
work together to solve technical problems and to advance our mutual
goals.  The same spirit of mutual respect and cooperation has carried
through to license issues, where we should continue to strive to
listen to and understand each other, and to try to work out any
problems so as to together continue to advance the cause of the free
software movement.  Our cooperation on past license issues (KDE/Qt
comes to mind) has been successful.  So we do, in fact, have a history
of working together to address license issues, both those of freedom
per-se and those (like the KDE/Qt issue, and Mozilla as well) of
convenience and the health of the copyleft commons.

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