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

Op di 12-08-2003, om 11:14 schreef MJ Ray:
> 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?

I was, with the understanding that my definition of 'software' is, and
has always been, 'computer programs'. Since that definition is clearly
not shared among others, I revert to using 'computer programs', to avoid

> > 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?

None that I know of; however, that does not mean there are none.

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

Well, at least it can be said that documentation usually doesn't have
the same purpose as a computer program.

> >> * 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?

No; also because I feel that there is a difference in purpose, which may
warrant a difference in license policy.

> >> * 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?

No. I feel documentation for free software should be free. However, I
think the way you define 'free documentation' is not interchangeable
with the way you define 'free software' (having software be 'computer
programs' here); it deserves another definition.

> >> 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
> software.

Hm. Right; I must've been too tired when I wrote that. Please ignore it.

> [...]
> > 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."
> http://www.uk.debian.org/doc/developers-reference/ch-pkgs.en.html#s-override-file
> Archive maintainers?  From the Org page on the web:--

Ah, that's what you mean.

The archives maintainers are responsible for interpreting what we have.
They're not responsible for redefining the rules of the game, if
required; for that, only the Debian Developers, as a whole, are

[...current list...]
> 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.

Maybe. I'm not going to get deep into this, though; the archive
maintainers are free to join, should they choose so.

Wouter Verhelst
Debian GNU/Linux -- http://www.debian.org
Nederlandstalige Linux-documentatie -- http://nl.linux.org
"An expert can usually spot the difference between a fake charge and a
full one, but there are plenty of dead experts." 
  -- National Geographic Channel, in a documentary about large African beasts.

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