Re: Unidentified subject!
Manuals, essays, licenses, and logos *encoded as bits on a
computer* are software.
Defining all these thing as software is a peculiar way to use the
word. I don't think that is the best way to interpret the DFSG,
because it leads to unnecessary inflexibility.
I do not try to tell the Debian developers how to make this decision
about interpreting the DFSG. My point is that it is a decision, and
that it goes contrary to the words of article 4 of the DFSG, which
seems to treat "software" as equivalent to "programs".
For the sake of avoiding confusion, please note that I use "software"
in the meaning I believe is standard, referring to computer programs
only. A software package, to be useful, needs to come with other
things--manuals, licenses, and sometimes essays and scientific
papers--but they are not the software. Likewise, in the term "Free
Software Movement" and "Free Software Foundation", "software" refers
specifically to computer programs. Our criteria for free software
licenses concern licenses for computer programs.
You've asked me to explain why the criteria for free documentation
licenses should be different from free software licenses (or, as you
would perhaps put it, free computer program licenses). I would rather
ask why they should be the same, since they deal with different
situations. If you reinterpret the DFSG's words by defining software
to include manuals, you are forced to treat them alike. In the GNU
Project we don't define manuals as software, so we have no a priori
reason to treat them alike.
The main difference between a program and documentation is that a
program does something, while documentation is passive; you look at
it. Another difference is that distribution of programs on paper is
rare, and not an important case to consider, whereas distribution of
documentation on paper is a very important case.
Another difference is that the you can see the words of the text in
the manual, whereas you cannot see the source code in the executable
of a program. For software, the danger is that the source won't be
available at all. For manuals, there is a real danger that the
"source" will be in a format that free software cannot read, and thus
useless. This is why we designed the requirement for "transparent"
Another difference is that DRM systems to stop people from accessing
documents are a real threat to our freedom, and we need to try to push
against them in any way we can.
Another difference is that DRM