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Re: Is the GNU FDL a DFSG-free license?

Keith Dunwoody <kstephen@interchange.ubc.ca> writes:

> Brian T. Sniffen wrote:
>> Joerg Wendland <joergland@debian.org> writes:
>>>Matthew Garrett, on 2003-08-21, 16:13, you wrote:
>>>>Oh, now, come on. The GFDL plainly /isn't/ compatible with the DFSG.
>>>>Whether or not it /has/ to be compatible with the DFSG in order to be in
>>>>Debian is an entirely separate issue, but the above is obviously not
>>>I was asked for my opinion, here it is. I feel the GFDL is "free enough"
>>>for my heart does not beat for the bureaucratic following of iron rules
>>>but for the sake of our users. And our users are not just the readers of
>>>GFDL-licensed documentation but also their authors, and they deserve
>>>freedom, too. This is why I made this very selection and this discussion
>> Wouldn't it be better, then, to say that you don't think the GFDL
>> meets the DFSG, but that you think it shouldn't have to?  Certainly,
>> you don't appear to believe that the GFDL both should have to meet the
>> DFSG and does so.
> So why was option 2 included on the survey anyway, if all you're going
> to do is tell people who voted for option 2 that they're wrong?

Neither Matthew nor I are in any way involved with running the
survey.  I'm not even a Debian Developer.  Option 2 is, however, 
internally inconsistent.  I've only seen one person -- Joerg Wendland
-- select it so far, and after marking as his vote, "The GFDL is
DFSG-compliant," he has further explained that he didn't *actually*
think the GFDL met the terms of the DFSG, but that he thought that:

* The GFDL shouldn't have to meet the terms of the DFSG.

* Authors should be able to license things as they please.

* The GFDL is a good licence.

* What?  The moral quality of a license is not reflected in its DFSG
  status?  I will hear no slur upon the beard of RMS, for my heart
  beats with revolutionary fervor for the sake of our users.  Debian
  should distribute all good things.  RFP: Bunnies[1].

In other words, he lied.  It may not have been an intentional
deception -- it's possible he just can't understand the difference
between "The GFDL is DFSG-free" and "I don't think the DFSG should
apply to the GFDL".  From his other posts, he appears to be a
postmodernist, so this is quite possible: the claim that all opinions
are equally valid, sacrosanct, and incontrovertible is not compatible
with constructive rational debate[2].


[1] "Bunnies" are a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation,
    and are dual licensed under the MS Soul-Sucking EULA and the GFDL.

[2] Neither are comments about the beard of RMS or speculations as to
    the ungulate heritage of postmodernists, I know.  Sorry.

Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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