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Re: GFDL freedoms

On Wed, Apr 13, 2005 at 02:55:39PM +0200, Jérôme Marant wrote:
> Quoting Matthew Wilcox <matthew@wil.cx>:
> > I remain unconvinced that the freedoms required for documentation are
> > the same freedoms required for software.  I think the best way to fix
> > the current situation is to propose the Debian Free Documentation
> > Guidelines and modify the SC appropriately.  More on this when I have
> > a first draft.
> This is great. Thanks in advance for your efforts.

This is actually the fourth draft, but wanted to polish it a bit before
everyone got to see it:


(I think you can guess the URLs for versions 0.1 to 0.3 if you're curious.)

I haven't included rationale for any of the sections.  Most are only
changed in cosmetic ways from the DFSG (and BTW, I think the DFSG could do
with some real editorial changes, but that's a matter for a different GR).

I expect controversy over section 4 primarily with perhaps minor complaints
about 2, 3 and 10.  Let me explain my reasoning a little:

I approach this primarily from a pragmatic point of view (from a "our
priorities are our users and free software" PoV if you want to think in
terms of the social contract).  The GNU manuals are useful and important.
They have always had the restriction on being able to remove the GNU
manifesto and it really wasn't a problem until the GFDL put the issue
in everybody's face.  Of course there is the tension between that and "a
reasonable licence to pass on to our users".

So what documentation do we want to include?  The main categories of
documentation licences are:

 - GFDL [1] [2]
 - Creative Commons [3] (bsd-like) [4] (gpl-like)
 - RFCs [5]
 - The LDP [6] [7]

Allowing Invariant Sections gets us most of the way to resolving the
problems with the GFDL.  I actually do believe the other problems are
minor from the FSF's point of view and are fixable.  If not, we're in
a great moral position (we compromised, you weren't willing to adjust
your position at all, out go your docs).

The Creative Commons licences have minor problems too, but I understand
they are in the process of being resolved.

Some of the RFCs are under a compatible licence, but the IETF ones say:
   Preparation of derivative works from an RFC that was an IETF
   contribution is allowed, but only for use within the IETF standards
I just can't make any moral case to allow that in, unless we allow any
immutable document.

And the LDP licences are many.  The sample in [6] just isn't practical:
   Any translation or derivative work of Linux Installation and Getting
   Started must be approved by the author in writing before distribution.
If the author dies, the document dies with him.  Another sample license [7]
   Send your derivative work (in the most suitable format such as sgml)
   to the LDP (Linux Documentation Project) or the like for posting on the
   Internet. If not the LDP, then let the LDP know where it is available.
So if the LDP dies, this document also dies with it.

[1] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.txt
[2] http://people.debian.org/~srivasta/Position_Statement.xhtml
[3] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
[4] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
[5] http://www.rfc-editor.org/copyright.html
[6] http://tldp.org/LDP-COPYRIGHT.html
[7] http://tldp.org/manifesto.html (section 6) 

"Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon 
the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those
conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse
to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince 
himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep 
he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception." -- Mark Twain

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