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Summary: no exemption for FSF; doc-advocacy package suggestion; hope this is resolved.

On 2004-05-07 03:31:44 +0100 Mahesh T. Pai <paivakil@vsnl.net> wrote:

MJ Ray said on Thu, May 06, 2004 at 11:37:26PM +0100,:
been less or more enlightening if you had the freedom to edit it?

I would  have got a very  different idea about freedom  if this friend
had changed either  the FSF's `political speech', or  the Debian PM or
DFSG and whatever else is in doc-debian and allied packages. That this
friend  had the  freedom  to modify  the  latter, but  did  not, is  a
different issue altogether.

Now, this is not an answer to the question asked. I did not ask whether an edited version would have been more or less enlightening, but whether an editable version would have been. You seem to have taken the message from FSF that it is OK to deny people the freedom to edit some software, which I think you got from their example. In some ways, doc-debian is a better education tool about freedom because you have more freedom to edit it, but in other ways it is probably weaker because I think FSF's argument for that freedom is well-written. It is a shame I find its application somewhat patchy and arbitrary.

Maybe their aim is noble, but I believe their method is wrong. This
My point is that  it is not a question of `wrong'  and `right'; just a
different way of solving issues.

The FSF have argued that giving these freedoms is a moral or ethical question. I think it is fair to decide whether I think their method is right, as well as whether it does the job they want to do.

feel that the FSF does not currently represent my view on software
Which is what the whole issue is about. FSF says `documentation is not
software'. Debian says `whatever we carry in our CDs is software'.

In a nutshell, ignoring the wording problems and so on, this is the largest difference. Debian seems to follow the meaning of the word "software" as used by Tukey, while FSF are using the modern mass media's "software" (= "programs").

[...] if
Debian takes out  what is `free documentation' for the  FSF we loose a
potent tool for spreading the concept.

[Wow, a real live lawyer on debian-legal. Should I bow or something? Seriously, praise to you for staying here.]

If debian deliberately acts in a hypocritical manner, then we probably sink the social contract. I would much rather not lose any FSF works, but if FSF will not release them under a free software licence, debian should not make an exception for them.

Hopefully, we could find free software from other sources and make an independent doc-advocacy (probably a bad name) package if people feel strongly enough about this.

I would never  have understood the real meaning  of `free software' if
the FSF's messages were not carried  in a *Debian* CD, and I read them
side-by-side with the documents in /usr/share/doc/*debian*.

I suggest that you do not yet understand the real meaning of "free software" if you think FSF should release software which is not free software...

Does debian  really want to deny  future newbies a good  intro to what
free  software is by  taking out  all this  political speech  from the

No, but I don't want debian to be hypocritical either. There is probably another way to achieve the aim, avoiding that.

And  all this  `political  speech' is  very  different and  has to  be
treated differently from other `do not modify' documents like RFCs.

I'm not convinced. I am quite happy if someone tries to take my words and use them for another end. (Hell, they have in the past!) They will may find improvements which I can use to improve my persuasive skills. Of course, they may be arguing against me, but I feel I have nothing to fear from open debate and people deciding for themselves.

This is worrying, but not insurmountable.
Yes. And somebody tells me that  there was a meeting of this committee
last month. And there was some progress on this issue.

I believe that is the case, but I don't buy vapourware. Here's hoping!

My Opinion Only and possibly not of any group I know.
http://www.ttllp.co.uk/ for creative copyleft computing

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