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Re: Missing documentation for autoconf

Simon Huerlimann wrote:
Hi Frank

On Monday, 20. February 2006 18:08, Frank Küster wrote:

Frank Küster <frank@debian.org> wrote:

Simon Huerlimann <huerlisi@gmail.com> wrote:


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?

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 me:

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.

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

The social contract say also "We will never make the system require the use of a non-free component". It is reasonable to think that the use of Debian requires the GFDL documentation. If Debian think there are non-free they are breaking the social contract; could someone explain me how this is not a break of the social contract.


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