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Re: A possible approach in "solving" the FDL problem

Wouter Verhelst <wouter@grep.be> wrote:
>> * Why do you feel this?
> Because in my opinion, that of the FSF, and that of the people who
> negotiated an international agreement on software copyright,

The FSF isn't directly relevant to this.  The lawmakers may be.

> documentation and computer programs are two distinct things.

The assertion you seemed to be making is that software and documentation
are two different things.  Is that not so?

> Even if you can apply the DFSG to documentation, different laws apply,
> and people have different inclinations to write documentation as
> opposed to writing software.

Do the different laws make any practical difference that renders the
DFSG invalid for documents?

At least some people write docs for the same reasons as they write code.
Please try not to over-generalise.

>> * Documentation is irrelevant, as we can't ship it in isolation from the
>> document containing it.  Do you think documents and other works should be
> s/document/program here, I presume?

No.  Remember, "document != documentation" ;-)

>> treated differently to programs?
> Yes.

Is this purely because of legal differences?

>> * Do you feel that agrees with your responsibilities as a developer?
> Yes, as it is not because I feel the rules of free documentation should
> be different from those of free 'computer programs', that I do not think
> documentation should not be free.

Trying to unravel negations: Do you think documentation should not be
free because you feel the rules of free documentation should be different
from programs?

If not, can you please restate your opinion more clearly!  ;-)

>> Is a GR now a better fix than completing the draft debian documentation
>> policy to reflect intended practice?
> I don't think a draft documentation policy, based on the DFSG, would fix
> anything.

It would clarify that Debian requires the documentation to be consistent
with the DFSG and avoid future misunderstandings about whether it is

> Is there a responsible delegate? I wasn't aware of that. Who is it, and
> what exactly is his/her responsibility?

There's probably a better thing to quote, but I'm sure it's been
mentioned recently on this list.  Here's from the DD Reference:--

"The debian/control file's Section and Priority fields do not
actually specify where the file will be placed in the archive, nor its
priority. In order to retain the overall integrity of the archive,
it is the archive maintainers who have control over these fields."

Archive maintainers?  From the Org page on the web:--

"# FTP Archives -- <ftpmaster@debian.org>
     member James Troup
     member Michael Beattie
     member Anthony Towns
     member Ryan Murray
     member Randall Donald "

Exact responsibilities may be a bit fuzzy, as I expect that it's a
job old enough that I can't find a delegation announcement, but the
above makes it look like this one is clearly their buck.

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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