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Re: GNU FDL and Debian



In article <slrnbiih42.chg.markj+0111@bouncing.localnet>, MJ Ray wrote:
> Dylan Thurston <dpt@math.harvard.edu> wrote:
>> In article <slrnbihnhr.3jh.markj+0111@bouncing.localnet>, MJ Ray wrote:
>>> ...  Both FSF and Debian agree that FDL-covered works are not free
>>> software, ...
>> To the best of my knowledge, this is not correct: RMS seems to argue
>> that a manual published under the FDL is free in the free software
>> sense, since you can make any functional changes you want.
> 
> That is not the same thing at all.  I am sure that
> my statement is accurate, but I cannot justify it from
> material I can find to quote.  I think it's pretty clear from
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2003/debian-legal-200305/msg00640.html
> that RMS doesn't consider FDL-covered works to be free software or even
> that such a request is reasonable.  Probably I shouldn't have put that
> statement quite that strongly, though.  Sorry.
> 
> There are two paths, near each other:
>  1. Ask for things to be under free licences and define free for each type
> of content individually;
>  2. Ask for everything to be free software.
> FSF seems to take path 1, Debian seems to take path 2.

To be precise, the reference you cited (thanks!) makes it clear that
RMS considers the "free" in "free software" to apply only to the
"technical functionality" of the work, whether the work is a program
or documentation: he writes

> 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.

For something that has no "technical functionality", like a political
essay, he wouldn't use the term at all.

(Again, I disagree with his interpretation, and hope Debian rejects it.)

Peace,
	Dylan Thurston



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