[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: A WDL.

Wouter Verhelst <wouter@grep.be> writes:

> There are parts of the FDL that actually make sense, such as the
> fact that the definition of 'source code' is not necessarily the
> same for documentation as for computer programs;

I don't think this has been established.  "Preferred form for
modification" is, quite frankly, an incredibly flexible and accurate,
ingenious even, way to pick out what the source for a work is.  Don't
fix it if it aint broke.  Some explanatory text explaining how this
can be applied to documentation might be in order, but I'm not
convinced anything more is necessary.

> or the 'Endorsement
> sections', which seem to be primarily intended for standards
> documents; one can modify a document with an endorsement section,
> but that section, which could say that the document describes some
> standard, has to be removed, so that it is clear that the document
> no longer describes any standard.

This could stand being systematized, if only so that people always
know where to look to find this sort of information.  But this can
apply to programs as well, I think, and this is the sort of thing I'd
like to see in a GPL v3 (or 4, or whatever).

> The DFSG doesn't forbid sections which require you to jump through a
> number of hoops to modify the work, as long as everybody has the
> same rights, and everything can be modified (safe the license or the
> license notice itself).

But just because the DFSG doesn't forbid it doesn't make it good.
IMHO, there are certain (quite rare) situation where it is good -- and
I think those situation mainly fall into the category of record
keeping, keeping track of attribution, that sort of thing.  These are
cases where it benefits the community, though, not where it benefits
the copyright holder.

Maybe these editorial sections would be DFSG free, I'm honestly not
sure.  But I certainly don't think they're a good idea.  In the grand
scheme of things they (and other similar clauses in licenses) can be
summed up in one word: Friction.  They impede sharing and make it more
difficult for people to repurpose works, thus making the free software
community less efficient.

> The alternative
> would have been to create a license which would not require anyone
> to jump through any hoops to amend or remove parts of the work, but
> it seems *very* unlikely that the FSF would accept that. And, after
> all, the whole idea was to give the FSF (or, perhaps, the community
> as a whole) a more or less acceptable alternative to the GFDL.

I honestly don't know what the FSF wants here.  That's probably the
most frustrating thing of all -- that we have so little information on
what the spirit behind the text of the GFDL is.  And what little we do
have suggests that even the intent is non-free, at least in MHO.

I was really hoping that RMS would answer my message to him with an
explanation of what "substantive" and "technical" (or "functional"
which he's used in much the same way elsewhere) mean for him, but
that's looking less and less likely.  I'm still hoping that some sort
of dialogue is possible with the FSF, but I don't know what
debian-legal can do to encourage that at this point.

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

Reply to: