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Mahesh T. Pai wrote:

> 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. 
Well, the friend couldn't have represented it as coming from the FSF or
Debian, of course.

> That this
> friend  had the  freedom  to modify  the  latter, but  did  not, is  a
> different issue altogether.
Yes; but it perhaps emphasizes the reason why Debian is taking the view it

> The problem for  experienced users and advocates of  the free software
> philosophy, like me (I'm speaking for myself *only*, as an individual,
> and not  as a  lawyer, which is  what I  do for a  living) is  that if
> Debian takes out  what is `free documentation' for the  FSF we loose a
> potent tool for spreading the concept.

See, from Debian's point of view, if there were totally free documentation
and free political essays Debian would include both.  I assume And pretty
much unmodified, too, I expect.

>From the FSF's point of view, it wants to force pro-proprietary-software
people who want to remove the essays to distribute them and, in fact, make
them prominent.  I don't think this is going to be effective... see my next

> 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*.

Would you have learned it from the FSF's messages on the Red Hat CDs (for
example), since that's the kind of advocates-proprietary-software
distributor who the FSF is trying to force to include its essays?

> 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
> /usr/share/doc?

I think everyone would *love* to include it if it was freely modifiable
(with any appropriate rules for attribution, of course; clearly I must not
claim that anything is RMS's opinion, or that I wrote his words, but that
combination of disclaimers is easy).  And frankly, I don't understand why
it's not.  Because it's not, it means that if I want to write an essay
about the importance of funding free software, I can't use any of RMS's
rhetorical flourishes (and I'd be safest not reading his work at all). 
Perhaps RMS is worried about people spreading subtly different messages? 
That's happening anyway, of course.  Or maybe it's just the 'my baby'
phenomenon, which seems common to writers.

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

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