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Re: Why documentation and programs should not be treated alike

Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>:

> This is why the GFDL does not require "complete corresponding source
> code" for a published manual.  It's easier to change the manual if you
> have this, but no disaster if you don't: you just have to write your
> own mark-up, which is pretty straightforward.  The requirement for a
> transparent copy is so that you don't have to keyboard the whole text
> again in order to publish a modified manual.  Even that is not
> impossible, but it's a bigger pain than writing mark-up afresh.

I'm not sure I agree with this. In many cases it is probably cheaper
to get someone to OCR or type in the plain text than to typeset it to
the original standard, given the plain text.

I admit that the following isn't directly relevant to manuals or
documentation, but in some cases, such as a bilingual dictionary, the
mark-up can be very complex and non-trivial to reinvent. I'm currently
working on a bidirectional dictionary where both directions are
derived from the same source data using a Perl script that is already
hard to understand and I still have to add some features. I might
release the whole lot under the GPL. I wouldn't want to release it
under the GFDL.

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