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Re: documentation x executable code

> by insisting on the right to delete/change attribution, and the right to
> delete/change secondary sections, that is *exactly* what you are
> demanding - the right to plagiarise and misrepresent.

How can you know why someone else wants to modify an invariant section?
Maybe they simply want to correct mispellings or something.  (Yes, we know
they can make an addendum to do that.)

Why does documentation have these special needs that software doesn't need.
Let's say I had the following program:

// Begin invariant
main( int, char ** ){
  std::cout << "All hail the zurg!  The zurg is supreme commander!" << endl;
// End invariant
  return 0;

I license it GPL + a clause "sections marked invariant may not be removed,
physically or logically".  (I.e. I can't #if 0 them out.)  Now I get hit by
a bus and you realize "zurg" was supposed to be "zerg".

Do you really think that this solution is acceptable?
// Begin invariant
main( int, char ** ){
  std::cout << "All hail the zurg!  The zurg is supreme commander!" << std::endl;
// End invariant
  std::cout << "zurg should be spelled zerg" << std::endl;
  return 0;

If it's not a good solution for free software why is it a good solution for
free documentation?

If I'm not supposed to censor or plagarise, then I'm not supposed
regardless of the licensing, right?  Right now I can make GPL programs that
report the author's name report my name instead.  Yet this doesn't seem to
tbe a rampant problem.  Why is documentation different?

> it doesn't matter whether these things are specifically forbiden by a
> license or not, because they are either unethical or illegal or both,
> anyway.

Exactly, hence invariants seem unnecessary.  They also feel non-free to me
but I'm still listening to the debate.
> claiming that the GFDL is non-free doesn't make it so.  if you make a
> claim, the onus is on you to prove it.

You keep claiming invariants (and the other issues which seem to be
considered secondary) are necessary for documentation even though they
don't seem to be for source code.  The onus is on you to defend this
position in this debate.  (Bonus points for doing it without calling anyone
names.)  If you've already explained this elsewhere a link or cut and paste
is fine with me.
> we already allow invariant sections in software (particularly software
> license texts and copyright notices etc) so it's not as if this is some
> amazingly new and unprecedented exception just for the GFDL - it's a
> practical necessity to enable us to do our work of producing and
> distributing a free software distribution.

Copyright notices are a special case.  Where else are there invariants?
There's the "practical necessity" assertion again.  Why is it necessary?
> no, it's not false.  there is no explicit exception for the GPL or any
> other invariant license text anywhere in the DFSG or debian developer
> guidelines or policies.  it has just been assumed that it isn't a
> problem, that it doesn't conflict with the DFSG.

You address why this makes sense here:
> [1] practical reasons including: we wouldn't be able to distribute GPL
> software at all, and nobody really needs to be able to change the GPL
> text - same as nobody really needs to be able to plagiarise or put words
> in people's mouths.

You can modify GPL text all you want.  But you can't relicense software
that you don't hold copyright for, so you legally have no right to modify
license text.  I think you already know that though.

Take care,
Dale E. Martin - dale@the-martins.org

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