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Re: A possible GFDL compromise

Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org> writes:

>     This is a very important point.  I have stated before that I would
>     not have serious objections to the FSF issuing a small number of
>     non-free manuals for a good reason, as it has been doing for 15
>     years.
> The FSF manuals are all free documentation by our criteria.  We are
> the ones who first started to say that documentation should be free,
> and we are the ones who first wrote criteria for free documentation.

I would swear Knuth predates you.  I'm certain that Jefferson and
Franklin, who argued against the Copyright Clause of the US
Constitution, predate you.

I find it implausible that you would not know that Thomas Jefferson
and Benjamin Franklin opposed the Copyright Clause particularly
because they believed documentation -- information of all sorts --
should be free.  It may be convenient to forget about them, but it
reflects badly on you to claim credit for yourself which rightly
belongs to your betters.

> I hope that Debian developers will vote to follow our criteria for
> free documentation, but they have the right to choose differently.
> However, you cannot expect us to follow your choice if it differs from
> ours.  Ultimately we and Debian may simply have to disagree.

But the FSF is exploiting its monopoly position with regard to Emacs
to do things which it does not permit further distributors to do.  The
Emacs manual claims to be part of Emacs, but only the FSF, as the
copyright holder of both works, can distribute a combined work of
Emacs and the Emacs Manual.  I cannot distribute a package consisting
of Emacs and Brian's GFDL'd Emacs Manual, because the GPL does not
permit me to link my GFDL'd text&code with Emacs.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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