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Re: Unidentified subject!

Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org> writes:

>     Your casual suggestion to "pick whichever seems better" leaves out the
>     object: better for whom?  For the Free Software community?  For the
>     Free Software Foundation, whose goals are quite different?
> That is a cheap shot, because it reflects only your decision to be
> nasty.  

Excuse me?  I've been trying to conduct a polite conversation.  I
certainly haven't made a "decision to be nasty" or started taking
cheap shots: the FSF's goals are indisputably different from those of
the members of the Free Software community.  The FSF's goals are its
attempt to fulfill the *best interests* of the community -- this is
one of the best arguments for the GPL and copyright assignment to the
FSF, that it will work towards the long-term interests of Freedom, not
for the wants and goals of the current members of the community.

> I could make the same kind of cheap shot by saying "Better for
> whom?  For the Free Software community?  Or for Debian, whose goals
> are quite different?"

And certainly, Debian's goals are different from those of the FS
community: Debian's goals are its users *and* Free Software.

> I choose not to do this, but others do it to me.

You have done this several times in this thread.  For example:

> The Free Software Foundation built the free software community,
> years before Debian was started,

This is at least much of a "nasty cheap shot" as what I said.  And
you've done it before.  The FSF has done wonderful things for the Free
Software community, but it is false to claim it had sole
responsibility for the community.

> (Frankly, I didn't even think about "better for whom".  I certainly
> didn't imagine it meant "Better for the FSF".  In the FSF we avoid
> these gray areas, so we would never be the ones deciding.)

You mean you *ignore* those gray areas.  As a reminder, we're talking
about gray areas between program and documentation.  The emacs manual
contains both.  TeX is both.  The FSF has signed off on both as being
Free -- one as documentation alone, the other as software alone.
Debian avoids those grey areas by insisting everything be treated as
software: it's not a perfect approach, but it gets the abstract
philosophy out of the way and gives more time for producing a Free
OS.  It's the FSF, not Debian, which has chosen to introduce a
classification system, separating Software from Documentation.

Many of those on this list have asked about your reasons for doing so,
and we've never gotten a clear response -- some allusions to
convenience for printers, I think, and that's all.

But given you've defined this split, and you want Debian to follow
your lead in this, it seems only reasonable for you to provide a good
guideline... telling us that *we* should "pick whichever seems better"
doesn't help much with that, so your suggestion that Debian permit
restrictions on documentation which it would not permit for software
is so far unconvincing.

> Cheap shots like this are another reason why I have decided not to
> discuss the matter further.

Wonderful to hear.  Debian's pulled its
too-passionate-to-talk-reasonably members off this discussion and sent
in cooler heads; who will the FSF be sending to talk to Debian, now
that you're too upset to continue?

I dare not speak for even all the readers of debian-legal, but I for
one am eager to continue discussing this with the FSF.


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