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MJ Ray said on Fri, May 07, 2004 at 11:57:30AM +0100,:

 > Summary: no exemption for FSF;

Yes. There is no need for special treatment for any particular entity. 
 > doc-advocacy package suggestion; hope this is resolved.

A good idea. `doc-semifree' would be better though.

 > I did  not ask whether  an edited version  would have been  more or
 > less enlightening, but whether an editable version would have been.

For  a newbie,  the issue  is not  relevant. What  is relevant  is the
message one gets. And first impressions really do count.
 > I think it is fair to decide whether I think their method is right,

As I said, it is not a  issue of `right' V. `wrong'. There are several
ways of  doing the `right'  thing, and the  problem right now  is that
FSF's and Debian's ways are incompatible.

After  the Gosling-EMACS  experience,  which RMS  describes as  `back-
stabbing'  (see  the  paragraph  containing  the  word  `Megatest'  at
www.gnu.org/philosophy/stallman-kth.html)  and   In  light  of  recent
statements by this same Gosling which can be found at 
(watch out for  wrapping of the URI) we really  cannot trust people to
ensure that they pass along the messages we want to convey.

But Debian, I guess, is not interested in passing along the *message*,
an attitude I disagree  with. (but the, I am not a  DD). If we fail to
convey the concept of freedom, people (particularly the newbies) might
not get the point.

 > as well as whether it does the job they want to do.

AFAI see, it does. But I agree with the consensus here that there are
better ways of getting others speak about freedom. 

 > 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.

And if the GFDL is not  modified adequately, it will be appropriate to
have  a  separate  section  for semi-free  documentation.  This  might
require some efforts  to vet the contents and  the invariant sections,
but  do we not  spend efforts  on checking  the dependencies  of GPL'd
code? (for deciding whether they should go into main or contrib?)

At least, the documents with  verbatim licenses (like RFCs or the ones
which come with emacs) can be put here.

 > I am quite happy if someone tries to take my words and use them for
 > another end. (Hell, they have in the past!)

Most people would be unhappy when their *political* words are twisted.
The  problem  arises  when  political  speech  gets  intertwined  with
technical documentation.

 > I feel I have nothing to  fear from open debate and people deciding
 > for themselves.

But you  overlook the  possibility of people  being misled  by twisted
words.  Consequences  of a misrepresented opinion are  worse than that
of malicious code inserted (mis)using liberty granted by the GPL. 

Which  is  why  documentation   should  be  treated  differently  from
programs.   And  precisely  why  GFDL assigns  `invariant'  status  to
*Secondary* Sections alone. 

  Mahesh T. Pai, LL.M.,                   
  'NANDINI', S. R. M. Road,               
  Ernakulam, Cochin-682018,               
  Kerala, India.                          

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