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Re: Missing documentation for autoconf

Hi Frank

On Monday, 20. February 2006 18:08, Frank Küster wrote:
> Frank Küster <frank@debian.org> wrote:
> > Simon Huerlimann <huerlisi@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Hi
> >>
> >> I'm bitten by the removal of the autoconf documentation. I wanted to do
> >> some bugfixing in a configure.in script. But as I'm currently offline, I
> >> don't have access to the needed documentation. Well, then... No more
> >> FOSS development for today.
> >
> > Has nobody volunteered to package one of the three autotools doc
> > packages in non-free?
Thank you for reacting to my "complaint".

> Err, actually autobook and autoconf-doc *are* in non-free.
Good to know.

> Simon, are you trolling?
Not intentionally.

> How do you explain that you would like to 
> continue to use GFDL'ed (or OPL'ed, for that matter) documentation, but
> refuse to add non-free to you sources list?
Because I don't like packages that are considered non-free by Debian. I 
generaly support it's decissions on freeness and it's social contract. But I 
don't regard GFDL and OPL as non-free. (No need to react to this statement, 
as it's just a personal interpretation. I fully recognize the decission taken 
by the Debian developers.)

> And how come that you would have been able to use the documentation if
> it was in main, even when you are offline?
> <snip/>
Probably my bad, as I didn't realize that autoconfs documentation was split 
into it's own documentation. I first searched automakes docs where I found 
out that the info probably is in autoconfs documentation. The man page told 
>The full documentation for autoconf is maintained as a Texinfo manual.  If
> the info and autoconf programs are properly installed at your site, the
> command  
>       info autoconf
> should give you access to the complete manual.
As we know, it doesn't. It looks like this has been the case since a few 
package versions:
> autoconf (2.59a-1) unstable; urgency=low
>  * Removed documentation.  Hope this makes everyone happy.  Closes:
>   #281671, #281672, #143536.
I understand that this was a necessary step to conform to the new policy. I 
now know that a autoconf-doc package was created in non-free to fill the gap.

> Or are you just trolling?
The question is: why did I send my original email?

Well, I know that the new policy wasn't supported unanimously, and I still 
hope it will be reconsidered one day. As I understand, there was a trade-off 
between two goals of the social contract: 1. Debian will remain free, and 2. 
Debians priorities are the users.

As I understand, the main argument contra the removal of GFDL documentation 
was that it will hurt the user. Well, my original mail was inteded for the 
record. To give evidence that it *does* hurt users and developers.

Another reason was the following paragraph from autoconfs README.Debian:
> No documentation, because the Debian project has decided that the GNU
> FDL is not an acceptable license for documentation.  If you disagree
> with this decision, write to debian-legal@lists.debian.org.  I can't
> do anything about it by myself, so filing bugs will do you no good.
> Sorry.

I didn't mention it in the original mail, as I didn't want to blame Ben Pfaff, 
who does a great job in maintaining the autoconf package.

That said, let's move on.

The thing that should realy change is that autoconfs man-page doesn't mention 
the doc package. This isn't a problem specific to autoconf, but does show in 
many packages that use help2man. help2man does add the above mentioned 
pointer to the info manual. And info manual for GNU tools are often written 
using a non-free license.

I've added support for doc-packages and non-free doc-packages to help2man, to 
help maintainers giving sensible hints in their generated man-pages. See Bug  
353768 in the BTS.

Ok, that's it, as far as I'm concerned.

Thank you all for providing Debian!

Good Night, and Good Luck

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