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Re: A possible GFDL compromise: a proposal

Op ma 22-09-2003, om 16:58 schreef Richard Stallman:
>     >I don't think that section titles are a problem--it would not be
>     >hard to put them in a program.
>     In a *binary executable* ?!?!  That's what I'm talking about here.
> I am not sure if you are right; this might be impossible or it might
> be easy.  I have never thought about what this requirement means for a
> binary executable, because the question is not important.  I don't think
> it needs to be possible to use text from manuals in a program.

I do.

A number of applications have built-in documentation facilities -- emacs
is a good example. Of course, emacs doesn't have the documentation
embedded in the binary; however, that does not mean that embedding
documentation in the binary is necessary a Bad Thing. Yes, I might agree
that in most situations doing so would be a Bad Thing, but I don't think
one should preemtively exclude that possibility.

> A manual is free if you can publish modified versions as manuals.

You have previously suggested we should consider whether documentation
is free, based on the four basic freedoms as specified on
http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/ . That includes 'the freedom to run the
program, for any purpose'. Since a manual can't be run, I'll interpret
that as 'the freedom to use the manual, for any purpose'.

So, by your own terms (unless you want to state that my interpretation
is incorrect), a manual is not free if you can only use the manual as a
manual, and not as something else. The above contradicts that.

> Many free documentation licenses won't permit use of the text in
> GPL-covered free programs, and practically speaking, this means I
> can't use them in any of the programs I might want to use them in.

The difference being that none of the other free documentation licenses
include invariant sections, at least not AFAIK. This means they can be
used for other purposes, such as reference cards, where large blurbs of
invariant text (which is required to be part of the work by the GFDL)
are not a problem.

> Whether the manual's text could be used in a free software package
> with a license that qualifies as free software, but is not one I'd
> want to use, is just academic.

In your opinion, perhaps. Allow other people the freedom to think

Wouter Verhelst
Debian GNU/Linux -- http://www.debian.org
Nederlandstalige Linux-documentatie -- http://nl.linux.org
"Stop breathing down my neck." "My breathing is merely a simulation."
"So is my neck, stop it anyway!"
  -- Voyager's EMH versus the Prometheus' EMH, stardate 51462.

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