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Re: Inconsistencies in our approach

Wouter Verhelst wrote:
>On Fri, Aug 08, 2003 at 12:25:49PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
>> What if the IETF don't want to publish it?
>Well, that's their right, although it's very unlikely the IETF would
>not want to publish anything related to network standards. Even if they
>wouldn't, you could write something that references the original RFC,
>and distribute that original RFC along with your other document.

And I could provide a patch file to a piece of non-Free software. Why
should we accept a lower class of freedom for documentation? 

>You'd never modify RFC2822's contents, and distribute that *as* RFC2822,
>would you?

It's not what I'm proposing, no.

>> What if my modification is a=20
>> joke? (Parody is protected in certain parts of the world, but not=20
>> universally)
>In that case, you probably wouldn't be modifying it, you'd be writing a
>new document. If that weren't the case, (i.e., you'd be modifying just
>one sentence in a joking manner), you'd deserve to be shot for confusing
>people all over the place.

I want to modify RFC2822 (and probably 2821) to describe a protocol and
message format for controlling a washing machine. Plainly, this is
unlikely to be a serious proposal and the IETF are unlikely to want to
publish it (except possibly as an April 1st joke, which is some distance
away). The license that the RFCs are under prevents me from doing that.

I work on Dasher, a predictive text entry application. People are free
to modify the corpus used to generate the predictions by, say, including
large quantities of racist text. They can then distribute this,
potentially giving the impression that I hold opinions other than those
I do. This is obviously less than ideal, but removing that possibility
would result in the software being non-Free. A modified Debian could
contain a white-supremacist message in /etc/motd. Again, we allow that
because to not do so would compromise what we see as necessary freedoms.
Why should we not hold documentation to the same standard?

Matthew Garrett | mjg59-chiark.mail.debian.legal@srcf.ucam.org

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