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Re: Not inherently free, but inherently non-free?

Martin Schulze wrote:

> I wonder if all documents licensed under the GNU Free Documentation
> License[1] are inherently non-free with regards to the Debian Free
> Software Guidelines[2].
> I thought that if no invariant sections were used the document would
> still be considered free.  However, if invariant sections were used
> for anything other than the license, the document would become
> non-free.  Since we don't require licenses to be altered I guess that
> the same would apply to an invariant section, I guess.

There's actually a nasty catch in that a license as an "Invariant Section"
can't be removed even if it's not the license applied to the work.

(For instance, a work might be licensed under the GFDL "version 1 or later",
but with the GFDL version 1 as an "Invariant Section".  If the FSF released
the GFDL v. 4, the GFDL v. 1 would *still* have to be carried around as an
Invariant Section.)

So Invariant Sections can't be used for the license, either, in many cases,
without rendering it DFSG-non-free.

> There seems to be some confusion about whether the GNU FDL renders
> every document non-free or only those that include invariant
> sections.  The result is that... er... I am confused as well...

Every document.  (Well, absent lots of additional permissions, of course,
but the same could be said of any non-free license.)


If the so-called "DRM restriction" problem were dealt with (by issuing an
amended GFDL or making a specific exception) -- and the problems with
transparent and opaque copies were cleared up (similarly) -- *then* a
document under the GFDL could be free -- if it had no Invariant Sections
*or* Cover Texts.

As far as I can tell there has been precisely zero progress on an of these
issues.  :-P

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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