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Re: GR proposal: GFDL with no Invariant Sections is free

MJ Ray wrote:

Sorry the previous point was confused. I think the PP was maybe trying
to explain that FSF does not claim FDL is a free software licence (and
also why they do not think all modification is important) but iDunno.

It tell that freedom to modify is not important for political text (which is not documentation). I understand this argument; what freedom would be provided by doing this?

The freedom to adapt the work for the purpose of one's own politics.

I also work on local politics (preserving trees, improving sustainable
transport, helping distinctive local businesses, that sort of thing) and
the campaigns where we have political texts to re-use and adapt are much
more effective. It would be good to have FSF's help in defending free
software from political threats like bad DRM law, by being able to adapt
arguments to our local areas. Hackers are seldom easily political.

One of the benefits of free software is non-descrimination. We never need
to describe things as "this is free for educational use" or "this is free
for non-political use". I can put tools to the uses I need. Political
text is another tool and we should be able to re-use and adapt it.

It would simply abuse the reader by letting him think that what he read reflect the opinion of somebody else while it is not true. For example; I understand the fact that I cannot say something like \"Debian is about proprietary software and affiliated with Microsoft\" since making such claim is simply lying.

Nothing put in a copyright licence could stop you making that false
claim if you didn't base it on a work covered by that licence.

That is a Frequently Used Argument. Please read and understand
"It's not about misrepresentation" by Nathaneal Nerode on

Debian has in my opnion a tendancy to make confusions. It's true that documentation is not software (although it is related) and it's even more true that political texts are not documentation. The DFSG speak about \"software\" and in the description about \"program\"; anyone with a good dictionary will know that a \"political text\" is not a software.

No, anyone with a good dictionary will know that software is a neologism
that contrasts with hardware and has meant stored programs and related
stored data since the earliest uses. A political text can be software,
although it's not necessarily so, and political text (such as a project
history or charter) can be documentation: that is, it can document a

Consider this quote from Eben Moglen:

"We can't depend for the long run on distinguishing one bitstream
 from another in order to figure out which rules apply."
  (From "Free Software and the Death of Copyright")

Why doesn't FSF apply the same freeness standard to all its bitstreams?

You are the only one which provide real arguments. But I still think we must not exagerate. By modifying some files; like logos, the result could really abuse people since the very puporse of trademarks are just to properly identify people. I recognise that it is different for political text as long as you make clear that the modified political text represent your opinion and not the opinion of the original author.

For the GFDL, I consider the important part is the technical stuff; the invariants sections are just about the same as we can found on many place such as on the website of the FSF or in the preamble of the GPL and are very short compared to the manual in question. The real stuff is the technical manual which can be modified. So that the answer to the question "can we in practise use our freedom"; the answer is yes. Some people make the objection that we could make very large sections invariants; like the whole "manual" (note however that we could not do that with the technical stuff). If you find such a document, I could consider this particular document non-free; but it is not the case for the GFDL manual.

Anyway, I agree that I think that this license is not ideal and I think it is a shame it was adopted by the FSF but I still think that Debian legal behave too restrictly. The GFDL is not my only objection; there are several licenses which have some small problems (choice of venue, etc...) and that are declared non-free; Debian should make a clearer difference between small and big problems.


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