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Re: Results for Debian's Position on the GFDL

olive <olive.lin@versateladsl.be> writes:

> The whole specification is indeed not public. What I claim is that a
> document using only word features fully understandable by openoffice
> might be considered as trandsparent since it use only spec available
> to the public: the subset of word fully understandable by openoffice
> is public. If a document use features that are not available to the
> public it is indeed not transparent. But there are very few such
> documents.

My understanding is that the intent behind the "transparent" definition
is specifically to rule out things such as Word documents.  I.e., this
is by design, not accident.  What's questionable (and what I take the GR
to make a decision on) is whether the intent was to rule out oppenoffice
or lyx.  But nonetheless, here is the full definition:

    A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy,
    represented in a format whose specification is available to the
    general public, that is suitable for revising the document
    straightforwardly with generic text editors or (for images composed
    of pixels) generic paint programs or (for drawings) some widely
    available drawing editor, and that is suitable for input to text
    formatters or for automatic translation to a variety of formats
    suitable for input to text formatters.  A copy made in an otherwise
    Transparent file format whose markup, or absence of markup, has been
    arranged to thwart or discourage subsequent modification by readers
    is not Transparent. An image format is not Transparent if used for
    any substantial amount of text. A copy that is not "Transparent" is
    called "Opaque".

Are really you suggesting that Word documents qualify?  Not only does
the public availability requirement refer to the specification of the
format (not the contents of the document), but there's still the
question of whether it can be edited "straightforwardly with generic
text editors."  Note that these two requirements are connected with an
implicit "and", along with a requirement about suitability for input to
text formatters.

Is it straightforward to have to:

 - Run the document through something to parse the word format into
   plain text.
 - Proofread it for formatting or other errors.
 - Edit it
 - Reverse the process by running the document through something to
   translate it back into word format.
 - Proof it for formatting or other errors yet again.

What's more, is the final step even possible without access to MS word?

I think there's a discussion to be had about whether it's a legitimate
goal for a free software license to rule out proprietary formats such as
word documents.  But I think it's quite clear that the GFDL does rule
out using word documents as source -- though the recent GR confuses this

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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