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Re: A possible GFDL compromise: a proposal

[RMS not CCed]

On Sat, Sep 20, 2003 at 05:27:14PM -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
>     > Manuals are not free software, because they are not software.
>     > The DFSG very clearly treats "software" and "programs" as
>     > synonymous.
>     In that case, the DFSG prohibits their distribution outright.
> That's one way to interpret it, but I don't think it is the best way.
> The DFSG is written as if the system consists entirely of programs and
> contains nothing else.  But there surely was never an intention to
> develop a system that didn't have manuals and essays and licenses in
> it.  I think that this was an error of thinking at the time.

Interestingly, there were more DFSG-free manuals copyrighted by the Free
Software Foundation in 1998 than there are today.

As I've noted elsewhere, the FSF has begun adding Invariant Sections to
manuals that formerly had none when they relicensed those same manuals
under the GNU FDL.

So, when we adopted the DFSG, complete with its understanding that all
bits on a distribution CD-ROM that weren't required legal notices were
"software" that had to meet our criteria for software freedom, it was
perfectly consistent with the notion that manuals would be on those
CD-ROMs.  Even manuals copyrighted by the Free Software Foundation.

G. Branden Robinson                |    Somebody once asked me if I thought
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    sex was dirty.  I said, "It is if
branden@debian.org                 |    you're doing it right."
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Woody Allen

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