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FDL and doc/sw distinction, was Re: DFSG FAQ (draft)

Florian Weimer <fw@deneb.enyo.de> wrote:
> If we want to make a distinction, we want to make it for our own sake,
> not for legal reasons.

Indeed, but that would need consensus that a distinction is essential
(all evidence so far suggests it isn't) or desirable (consensus unlikely,
IMO) and at least a proposal of how to make the distinction.

One thing that has irritated me is the suggestion by some that there
needs to be a distinction for legal reasons *and* then not providing
anything concrete to back that claim up.  Sorry if I dropped that on you.
I don't think that's your stance at all.

> We can chose completely arbitrary rules (as long as we don't encourage
> copyright infringement, of course).  For our peace of mind, they should
> be consistent, but even that is unnecessary.

I hope that we can avoid arbitrary and illogical distinctions.  That way
madness lies, with all the horrors of different decisions for identical
licence terms, etc.

>> 2. The documentation is not the issue.  The entire FDL-covered work is.
> In my eyes, the GNU Manifesto is an integral part of the GNU Emacs
> documentation.

The GNU Manifesto is not documentation for the subject of the GNU Emacs
Manual, which is given as "how to edit with Emacs and some of how to
customize it." If it is documentation for GNU Emacs, it is not allowable
as an invariant section under the FDL.  Arguably it is documentation in
a way, but it is documentation for the history of GNU Emacs, which is
outside the current scope of the Emacs Manual.

I think this is another questionable bit of the FDL and something that has
been mentioned here before more than once :-( I hope some FDL supporters
start answering the questions, preferably with an FDL FAQ.

>> 3. What about other content?
> Can be decided case-by-case.

Let's use DFSG for all these cases.

> [...] his natural rights to this content [...]

I'm guessing that the ability to edit the works of others isn't something
you regard as a natural right?

MJR/slef   My Opinion Only and possibly not of any group I know.
      http://mjr.towers.org.uk/   jabber://slef@jabber.at
Creative copyleft computing services via http://www.ttllp.co.uk/
Thought: Edwin A Abbott wrote about trouble with Windows in 1884

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