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Re: Respect for Upstream Authors and Snippets of Interest

Mahesh T. Pai <paivakil@vsnl.net> wrote:

> I became aware of the concepts of free software, Debian, the FSF and
> the real meaning of 'free as in freedom' on doing some follow up
> reading after coming across other files in this very same directory
> (while using another distro). According to the consensus on this list,
> these files do not deserve to be in Debian, the OS.
> But, do please consider this situation :- If those files were
> modifiable / removable, and if somebody did, in fact, modify them, and
> I (or any other user) had come across that distro, I would never have
> turned to Debian.  Please consider this fact while those packages /
> docs are being moved out to non-free.

You are talking about an unlikely situation (that such a distro would
gain huge market share) versus real concerns.
>  > Debian does require the *right* to remove such snippets.
> Sure.  Not only the snippets, but also the invariant sections in a
> GFDL'ed doc.  But rights specific to Debian are not DFSG free.
> So the rights to modify will have to be granted to everybody. And one
> bad apple in that 'everybody', who would most likely have much money &
> marketing power *might* remove the philosophy and political parts, and
> create their own distros bereft of the 'free as in freedom'
> 'pontifications'.  ;) This problem cannot be wished away by dual
> licensing these docs under GPL.

Still couldn't remove the license.
> On the other hand, the Debian Community has very valid points to
> object to the GFDL, It will be difficult for Debian to make
> concessions specific to copyrights held by the FSF.  Any body can use
> the invariant sections to include unpalatable messages.
> RMS has a point when he argues that it is not sufficient to have free
> software.  We need to constantly remind everybody about those
> freedoms. To that end, it is essential to educate users and every body
> else about the freedoms, and utilise every opportunity to spread the
> word.  Paving the way for removal of the political/ philosophical
> messages about freedom in software of the kind published by the FSF
> would be counter - productive to the free software community (and
> therefore, Debian itself) in the long run.

Personally, I find it ironic that the FSF feel they have to use non-free
means to spread the word about free software, and feel strongly enough
about it to contaminate free manuals into non-free ones to do it.

> I think the only way out would be to create a separate section for
> GFDl'ed docs with invariant sections named something like GFDL-doc or
> doc-semifree (or whatever - nonfree is harsh and unwarranted term).

There's all sorts of border cases in non-free, including `no commercial

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