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Re: GFDL and cover texts

"Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso" <jordigh@gmail.com> wrote in message [🔎] 9543b3a40708070848r5f169ca3j60f576238b7dff70@mail.gmail.com">news:[🔎] 9543b3a40708070848r5f169ca3j60f576238b7dff70@mail.gmail.com...
On 07/08/07, Joerg Jaspert <joerg@debian.org> wrote:
On 11104 March 1977, Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso wrote:
: Why are three words enough to make thousands upon thousands
> of words nonfree?

Because it is non-free.
Compare with a source tarball, where one could say "But this is just one
twenty-line file which is non-free, and the other 500000 lines are
free. Why is this enough to make the rest non-free?". That just doesn't

But we can't modify the COPYING file in a source tarball, and that's
ok. Why isn't a cover text like "a GNU manual" also acceptable?

- Jordi G. H.

It really is not as much the non-modifiable nature of cover texts, as the fact that they are mandatory to include. Lets say somebody was writting a manual for a utility that is similar to the GNU utilitiy in some respects. The person's utility is not a GNU utility. It would be very useful if the person could reuse some parts of the GFDL'd manual that still apply (perhaps a section explaining Regular expressions (for example)). If he did so though, he would need to keep the "a GNU manual" cover text on his manual, which is hardly a GNU manual, condisering that it was not written for or as part of the GNU project, nor is it about a GNU utility.

Further one could very easilly see a problem occuring if one borrows text from a bunch of manuals all having different covet texts. There would be quite a few required cover texts in that case, many of which really make no sense for the end result.

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