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Re: [STATUS] SURVEY: Is the GNU FDL a DFSG-free license?

On Sun, 2003-08-24 at 03:56, Eduard Bloch wrote:
> #include <hallo.h>
> * Branden Robinson [Sun, Aug 24 2003, 03:43:00AM]:
> >                                              possible     non-
> >                                  developers developers developers
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------
> > option 1 ("no")                     16          3         16
> > option 2 ("yes")                     1          0          0
> > option 3 ("sometimes")              10          2          4
> > option 4 ("none of the above")       1          0          1
> As said on IRC, please do not trust these numbers as the primary
> indicator. Only people with some real interrest on the issue read the
> huge -legal threads and know about this survey.

If they don't care enough to participate, they shouldn't complain when
things don't go their way. A few were claiming there was a "silent
majority" in support of the GFDL, and here's their chance to speak out
easily. After a DPL election we don't go back and consider "what did
those people who didn't vote think"; if they didn't make their opinion
heard, too bad.

> In fact (and IMHO,
> of course), most developers are _not_ aware of the fact that the FDL
> maybe turned into a non-free license by minimal (and almost invisible)
> modifications by the author, and they also are not aware of the need to
> review every FDL licensed document to check for its real licensing.

I find this unlikely. The problems with the GFDL have been covered in
DWN (and its many syndications), on Advogato, on this mailing list and
debian-devel (and I think once on -policy even). Problems have been
brought up on the GCC list and probably other GNU lists too. Wikipedia
has had problems with the GFDL, and Linus Torvalds has spoken out
against using it in the kernel's documentation.

To not be aware of the GFDL's problems at this time but still be
considering it for or using it in a project to be an irresponsible
developer and/or free software advocate.

> I propose to make a simple change in the DSFG (or document the license
> evalutiang method in the policy, whatever): differentiate between 
>  - pure FDL (which is obviously free)

If you go over the debian-legal archives, you'll find many of us reached
the conclusion that "pure FDL", even without invariant sections, is
obviously non-free.

>  - tainted FDL (with invariant sections)

I don't see this as a "tainted" FDL. It's well within the bounds of the
license. What's tainted is not the GFDL, but the freeness of the

> and make it a _must_ for maintainers to review the documents and turn
> the documentation into non-free packages when needed.

This is in policy (and the social contract) already. Maintainers must
review the source code they package.

It also doesn't solve the main problem, which is that for some reason
clearly non-free documentation (the GNU manuals) are being distributed
in main.
Joe Wreschnig <piman@debian.org>

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