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Re: Fwd: Final updates for this Python Policy revision

On Tue, 15 Dec 2009 14:20:45 +0200 anatoly techtonik wrote:

> Hello,


> Following recent Python policy updates I wonder if GPL is really the
> license of choice for software documentation in Debian?

IMHO, yes it is and it should be, really!
The GPL is the best choice, whenever a copyleft license is being
searched for.  For any kind of work: programs, documentation, images,
and so forth...

This is my personal opinion, but is shared by others, as well.

> There are many
> other licenses available that are more clear to general public, such
> as Creative Commons.

Creative Commons are not clear at all!
Try and read their actual legal text: there are many open questions,
such as the ones around the infamous anti-DRM clause, where even
official Creative Commons representatives refused to disclose the
intended meaning of the clause.
There are other problematic clauses, IMHO.

I summarized my concerns about CC-by-v3.0  (which is even simpler than
CC-by-sa-v3.0) in the following message:

As you can see, I am convinced that CC-by-v3.0 does *not* meet the DFSG.
However, the FTP-masters disagree with me, and accept works released
under the terms of this license (and of CC-by-sa-v3.0) in Debian main.

Anyway, claiming that Creative Commons licenses are "clear" seems to be
a huge stretch.
The Creative Commons "human-readable summaries" may seem to be clear,
but, unfortunately, they are just summaries (and not very accurate,
BTW): they are not the actual legal terms... 

> The second question may seem strange, but why copyleft license is
> used?

Hopefully in order to prevent the distribution of proprietary
derivative works...

> Does it allow to cite Debian Policy in books without making
> those books freely available?

Within the quotation limits established by the applicable copyright
law, it is always allowed to quote a published work, AFAIK: the Berne
Convention seems to say that signatory countries have to implement
quotation rights in their copyright laws.

> Please, CC.


> >> One specific problem is that nobody understands what do you mean
> >> when releasing something that is not software under GPL.
> >
> > The Debian policy is digital information, therefore it is software
> > (as opposed to hardware).
> >
> > Perhaps you mean “something that is not a program”.
> I mean that "documentation for software" is not software
> itself.Software can render documentation or process it. Documentation
> can be printed and still remain documentation. Software is not.

You seem to be fond of the strict meaning of the term "software".
There's also a broad meaning.
Please see my essay on this distinction:

Anyway, whatever you mean by "software", it seems that this FAQ has
already been pointed out to you on debian-python:
This should make it clear that the GPL *can* be used for non-program

I hope this helps to clarify.

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..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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