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Re: A possible GFDL compromise

Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org> writes:

> That's one of those reasons whice are of no concern of ours. It's also
> irrelevant. There are other reasons which led to "We must force the
> permanent inclusion of our dogma in all our manuals", and none of
> those are relevant either - none of them result in the FDL. The FSF
> has chosen invariant sections as a goal in its own right.

I don't know what those other reasons are; as far as I can tell, they
haven't been published by the FSF.  

Nor has the FSF ever said that it has chosen invariant sections as a
goal in its own right: and why would they?  

> > I believe this is a goal that Debian
> > also shares.
> I'm not sure why you think that. Debian's goals are enumerated here:
> http://www.debian.org/social_contract
> I don't see anything there which approximates:
> "to make sure that everyone who gets free software understands the
> rights they have and the importance of free software."
> Debian has always been technically oriented, not politically.

Debian's goals are enumerated in many many places.  The Social
Contract is just that, it is not the "definitive statement of Debian's
goals".  In fact, it isn't a statement of *goals* at all.

> > > > Debian also
> > > > does an awful lot to try and make sure too.
> > > 
> > > I haven't noticed any such attempts.
> > 
> > Really?  Go look at the web page.
> I looked, and within 20 seconds I had found the exact opposite of the
> stated goal of the FSF.
> http://www.debian.org/intro/free

Huh?  RIGHT THERE is a statement about why free software is
important.  Now Debian does not in general adhere to the notion that
the words "free software" are more important than the words "open
source", though I would note that the former is vastly more common in
Debian's own writing than the latter, so there is some kind of

Of course we do not agree with *every* goal of the FSF, nor should we.

You said there were no attempts to express the importance of free
software, and right there, on that page, is a description of the
importance of free software.

> Aside from this one page, I found nothing (in a few minutes browsing)
> under www.debian.org that dealt with the subject of what and why free
> software is. Hardly an "awful lot".

The Social Contract also expresses this importance.  And the top level
page does too.  

As does www.debian.org/intro/about.  It is also discussed in the
Debian GNU/Linux FAQ (www.debian.org/doc/FAQ).  That's just from about
one minute of my quick look through the site map.

> *How* is it an attempt to do that? Seems to me, it's an attempt to
> meet our obligations of distributing the licenses in a suitably
> prominent fashion.

The licenses do not require the notice--not at all.  The notice is our
choice, and we choose to do it to make sure our users are aware of
their rights.

> I certainly can't see anything in that paragraph, or in
> /usr/share/doc/*/copyright, which deals with "the importance of free
> software".

I took a look at /usr/share/common-licenses on my system, which
contains the following files:

Artistic  BSD  GPL  GPL-2  LGPL  LGPL-2  LGPL-2.1

Of these seven, six of them contain descriptions about why free
software is important.  All of them are concerned to explain the
users' rights.  The licenses require that we distribute these, but I
venture to say that even if they didn't we would still do so.


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