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Re: A possible GFDL compromise

On Fri, 22 Aug 2003 10:14:31 -0500
John Goerzen <jgoerzen@complete.org> wrote:
> I suggest that even if the GFDL did not allow modification of the invariant
> sections, if it at least allowed removal of them, we would be in much better
> shape.  It would, for instance, allow people to better take the manual from
> program A and adapt it for program B, even if they disagreed with the GNU
> Manifesto or used a different license for program B.

Certainly, allowing removal of Invariant sections would be adequate for
Debian's uses. At least, if we could remove portions of them - one
could put the copyright notice in an Invariant section and also spend 30
pages discussing the quality of one's navel lint. If we couldn't remove
the crap about navel lint because we can't remove the copyright notice
(keeping in mind they're both in the same Invariant section), there are
problems :) If we could though, that'd be fine - all GFDL-licensed
documents in Debian would have their Invariant sections stripped because
people can't modify them, but at least the docs could go in :)

Assuming we were allowed to distribute them, anwyays. See below.

> In the case of a manual that includes invariant sections, we could then
> throw just the invariant section into non-free, keeping the balance of the
> manual in main.  (Or perhaps just delete the invariant sections entirely.)
> What do people here think about that, and is there any indication if the FSF
> would be amenable to this change?

I don't think it's enough. Clause 2 of the GFDL (and a few similar
points elsewhere) are even more insidious than Invariant sections (in
my opinion). People who distribute GFDL'd documents on a CD (for
instance) should be very careful and be prepared to provide the
copyright holder with a computer with a CD reader, and electricity to
run it. And you better hope that no judge feels that the layout on the
CD (or the format of the archive the document may be in, if any) is
"obscure" :)

That being said, at least RMS has gone on record here on -legal stating
that he has very strong feelings about Invariant sections and thinks
they're entirely acceptable. So I doubt the FSF is amenable to the

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