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Re: GNU FDL and Debian

> From: "Sergey V. Spiridonov" <sena@hurd.homeunix.org>
> I like FSF and I like Debian. So, I ask you (FSF and Debian) to find
> a solution. Both goals are important. I (user) need documentation
> and I (user) need free software. Please, find a compromise!

You are absolutely right.  Failure to find a workable solution will
hurt both organizations, and free software in general.  Debian is
aware of this - we have moved very slowly for this very reason, and
would quite like to find a happy resolution.

Here is one proposed compromise.  This was suggested earlier, and
although the FSF did not adopt it neither did they reject it or even
critique it.  So it might be workable; I don't know.

Since the FSF felt that publishers could not use the GNU GPL for
printed documentation, they adopted the GFDL for their manuals, to
allow printed publication under terms they felt publishers would find
acceptable.  (The correctness of their reasoning is irrelevant for our
current purposes, so please let's not get into it.)

On the other hand, Debian has serious issues with the GFDL, some of
which apply mainly to its use in the context of non-printed (digital)
distribution.  Debian also has some "convenience" issues, the foremost
being that the GFDL is not GPL-compatible.

One bit of contention is whether some of the issues identified by
Debian are issues of "freedom" or mere issues of "convenience".
(Everyone however does agree that the GPL-compatibility issue is one
of just convenience.  There is disagreement even there over the
magnitude of the inconvenience though.)

A solution that springs to mind is for the FSF to re-license manuals
under a dual license: GFDL/GPL.  This would solve all the issues in
one stroke.  It would also render the "freedom vs just convenience"
issue moot.

Debian has a general policy of respecting upstream desires in our
contributed code.  In this case, Debian would I'm sure be happy to
respect the FSF's desires and place its contributions under a dual

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