stepping in between Debian and FSF
FSF and Debian folks,
Both sides of this argument are wrong, and tempers are too high for you
to resolve this by yourselves. As an SPI director and the DPL historicaly
responsible for decisions that both sides are arguing about, I feel that it's
time for me to step in between the two parties.
Regarding non-free stuff in Debian and the GFDL, both sides are making
the _same_ mistake:
Debian, a Free Software organization, isn't being entirely true
to the Free Software ethos while the non-free file tree is so
close to the rest of the system. Changing that is mostly an
administrative issue, and need have little technical effect. The
fact that Debian developers have reviewed this multiple times, and
that it has been the way it is since I was project-leader,
doesn't mean it's not broken.
FSF, a Free Software organization, isn't being entirely true
to the the Free Software ethos while it is promoting a license
that allows invariant sections to be applied to anything but
the license text and attribution. FSF is not Creative Commons:
the documentation that FSF handles is an essential component of
FSF's Free Software, and should be treated as such. In that light,
the GFDL isn't consistent with the ethos that FSF has promoted
for 19 years. Send that license to Larry Lessig and provide Free
Software licensing for Free Software Documentation.
So, here is how I think both sides should start to work together:
There is a fiction in the Debian Social Contract: "non-free isn't
really part of Debian". It's time to make it so. Non-free and
contrib need their own organization, and your tools are well able
to handle that separation cleanly, without inconvenience to
non-free users. The present size of Debian, alone, would be
sufficient justification to spin non-free and contrib off.
FSF, in turn, should assert that documentation is an
essential component of Free Software, and that it must be under
essentially the same terms as the software that it is associated
with. FSF should promote an interim strategy for licensing such
documentation, and should proceed in good faith to create or
modify licenses to implement a long-term strategy.
Now, can we please see some work on this, rather than bickering?