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Re: Respect for Upstream Authors and Snippets of Interest

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On Sunday 28 September 2003 02:12, Barak Pearlmutter wrote:
> Jan Schumacher <uzs5p3@uni-bonn.de> (using an expired key) writes:
> > Fair enough. However, all of these statements are removable, and their
> > modification is probably not prohibited by the license.
> The flow of the argument was: one example of Debian's respect for
> upstream authors is not removing these requests and offers.  If they
> were unremovable, this would have made a poor example.

If they are also modifiable, then they are most likely also DFSG-free by the 
strictest interpretation. I don't think anyone has argued to remove such 

> >                 Do you believe
> > unmodifiable essays like the GNU Manifesto could be accepted in Debian
> > with the DFSG as they stand?
> This is not a matter of belief.  This is longstanding, and heretofore
> uncontroversial, accepted Debian practice.  The GNU manifesto is in
> Debian right now, right where it belongs: /usr/share/emacs/21.2/etc/GNU
> and analogous locations in emacs20 and xemacs.  The Debian ftpmasters
> are doubtless quite aware of such snippets, and have no problems with
> them.  *Changing* this tradition would be a big deal.

Is this really a tradition or merely an oversight? Surely, if the resulting 
package were to be found non-free, you would not want to make an exception 
because it was always done that way?

> If there were a package whose bulk consisted of the GNU manifesto and
> related materials, I think people might have some problems with that.
> Certainly I would.  That would also not fit the definition of a
> "snippet" I gave, which was an attempt to explain current Debian
> practice.

I do not see how the GNU manifesto would be a snippet even in a large package 
like emacs. In fact, I would argue that it, or a collection of FSF political 
writings, should have their own package, but in non-free. Little snippets 
might slip under the radar if they are small and unconsequential enough, but 
serious political essays should not be among them. That is not to say that I 
have made up my mind that unmodifiable political statements should never be 
part of Debian. But right now, there are no criteria by which unmodifyable 
content can be accepted.

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