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Re: GFDL'ed documents with Front Cover text

On Sat, Mar 25, 2006 at 02:09:02PM -0500, Steve M. Robbins wrote:

> Frank said:

> > assume a document licensed under GFDL, with no invariant sections (and
> > ...) has a front cover text (like "A GNU Manual") and a back cover text
>   [...]
> > What should the developers do in order to make it DFSG-free [...]

> This implies that a document with no invariant sections, but with
> one-sentence front- and back-cover sections does not meet the DFSG?
> Is that Debian's position?

> For example, GMP has Front-Cover Text

>     A GNU Manual

> and Back-Cover Text

>     You have freedom to copy and modify this GNU Manual, like GNU software

> and no invariant sections.  Must I really throw this document
> out of Debian (BTS 335403)?

Hmm. :/

Short as these are, they are still problematic from a free documentation
standpoint.  What if I borrow heavily from the GMP manual, but include this
material in a work that's I've written primarily myself?  Is it really fair
to require that I label my work "A GNU Manual"?  Since the GFDL limits the
front-cover text to five words or less and you only get one front-cover text
per work under this license, I can't even supplement it with a more accurate
cover text of my own.

The back-cover text is even worse, because it requires me to make a
statement which I consider misleading -- I do *not* consider the freedoms
the GFDL gives me to copy and modify manuals to be (sufficiently) similar to
those granted by GNU software.  (Parodoxically enough, if this statement
were *not* a GFDL Back-Cover Text, I would be more inclined to agree with it
and thus, be willing to distribute a document including the claim in
question; but as it stands, I consider it a bug that I'm forbidden to

So yes, the current manual seems to fail the DFSG as confirmed by the latest
GR, and can't be distributed in main for etch without a license change.  I
would hope that this doesn't mean "throwing it out" of Debian, though; if we
fail to secure even such a modest licensing change as to make such cover
texts removable, then I would encourage you to consider at least shipping
the documentation in non-free.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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