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

Andreas Barth <aba@not.so.argh.org> writes:

> * Joe Wreschnig (piman@debian.org) [030828 19:50]:
>> On Thu, 2003-08-28 at 03:55, Andreas Barth wrote:
>> > So, as a ad-hoc statement it seems to me that the only way "in the
>> > spirit" of the Social Contract is to accept GFDL-docu if certain
>> > restrictions are not used (except for a license text, which we always
>> > did accept as invariant and which is invariant by law). However, don't
>> > expect me to back this up. There is nothing which can IMHO be used as
>> > basis, because the DFSG cannot really apply (see above). And opinion
>> > is not a good basis for a discussion.
>> The documentation published by the Free Software Foundation uses
>> invariant sections extensively. Since these are the manuals a few people
>> are trying to keep in Debian regardless of their freeness, this ad hoc
>> solution will be just as unpopular as removing all FDLd documentation
>> from main. So we might as well do it right, and remove it all.
> We seem to have different views on what's right. IMHO the "right
> thing" is to make a DFDG, 

Great.  Write one.  Having proposed this, you will not be taken
seriously until you have a candidate set of Free Documentation
Guidelines for public review.

> in other views the "right thing" is to act on the DFSG[1]. This
> discussion is IMHO valuable, but: We seem to have the same
> conclusion about most actions what should be done "now"[2], so the
> difference in motivations should not stop this to happen.
> [1] as I said: IMHO the DFSG doesn't really apply, but only as a "first
> aid" as long as we don't have another guide.[3]
> [2] "now" could also be after sarge, that's a different discussion.
> [3] We definitly shouldn't make another guide while the argument about
> the GFDL is so hot. First solve this issue (IMHO removing or replacing
> the GFDL-docus with invariant sections) and then doing a guide
> _afterwards_.

You are confused as to the nature of the issue.  Invariant sections
are not the only non-free feature of the GFDL: The restriction on
technical measures which obstruct copying is also non-free.

It is even harder to take you seriously because you were deceptive in
your answer to Branden's survey: asked "Is X in set Y, when X is
software covered by the GFDL, and Y is the set of all software which
is DFSG-free?" you answered with nonsense -- though I don't remember
off hand whether you were one of those who used the nonsense "Yes,
because documentation is not software!" or "None of these represent my
opinion, because documentation is not software!"

Whether or not documentation can be software is irrelevant to that
question, and you look like a mindless zealot when you respond in such
a way.  The question is "Is software licensed only under the GFDL Free
Software in the terms of the DFSG?"  Nothing else.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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