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Re: A possible GFDL compromise: a proposal

On Fri, Sep 19, 2003 at 11:06:34PM +0200, Mathieu Roy wrote:
> The GNU Documentation under discussion _is_ in the category of
> political/philosophical/historical texts. Only these texts can be
> invariant in the GFDL.

Could you explain in what way the Distribution section of the emacs manual
is a political/philosophical/historical text?  It contains many statements
of fact which can easily become outdated and untrue:

  "If you have access to the Internet, you can get the latest
   distribution version of GNU Emacs by anonymous FTP"

FTP is on its way out, and might be entirely replaced by HTTP in
another decade.

  "You can also order copies of GNU Emacs from the Free Software
   Foundation on CD-ROM."

Presumably this will become "on DVD" at some point, or some other
CD-ROM replacement.  I remember when this part talked about tapes.

  "(The Foundation has always received most of its funds in this way.)"

This can change at one stroke when Bill Gates dies and leaves all his
money to the FSF.

  "An order form is included [...]"

I'm not quoting this one in full because of its length, but it contains
a URL and a postal address.  Apparently the FSF should never move again.

  "Donations to the Free Software Foundation are tax deductible in the US."

This can change at the whims of the IRS.

How is any of this political or philosophical?  Granted, it may become
historical, but that would be a bug and not a feature.

> > Are we going round in circles here?
> Apparently it was needed to one more time remind which kind of text
> can be invariant.

Indeed.  "a named appendix or a front-matter section of the Document
that deals exclusively with the relationship of the publishers or
authors of the Document to the Document's overall subject (or to
related matters)"

"political/philosophical/historical" is only part of it, the GFDL
also mentions "commercial position regarding the subject or related
matters", whatever that is.  Maybe the postal addresses fall under
that category.

When you look at which kind of text IS marked invariant in the manuals
under discussion, you'll find that the FSF has a much broader idea of
Secondary Sections than the one you're using in your arguments.

Richard Braakman

There's still time to save Europe from software patents.
EuropeSwPatentFree - http://EuropeSwPatentFree.internautas.org 

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