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Re: GFDL freedoms



On Wed, Apr 13, 2005 at 06:44:02PM +0100, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> 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.

Lots of non-free stuff is useful and important.  Many of them are programs.
Please explain why Debian's standards should be lowered for documentation,
when it was not lowered for other software (eg. Netscape).

Please address the pragmatic reasons for users to want to be able to remove
invariant sections, which you apparently consider unimportant.  They make it
impossible to reuse small pieces of a text--you can't reproduce a paragraph[1]
of text without lugging along (and making invariant) pages of irrelevant
political spiel.  If you want to reuse a paragraph of text from ten sources,
you may end up with a hundred pages of irrelevant political spiel.  (If you're
a competent author, you probably don't want irrelevant spiels in your work
at all--certainly not someone else's).

> Allowing Invariant Sections gets us most of the way to resolving the
> problems with the GFDL.  I actually do believe the other problems are

(I find it odd that you present Debian compromising its principles as if
it's a useful, productive thing ...)

Noncritical (read: "not license text") sections which can neither be removed
nor edited are not Free in any sense of the word.  Such sections have no
place in Debian.  Invariant sections are at the far end of non-freeness,
miles beyond "compromise".  If Debian is going to compromise its principles
to allow chunks of invariant text, I don't see why the next "compromise"
won't be to allow chunks of invariant code.

> 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).

"GNU releases their documentation under a non-free license.  Debian wants
to include it, so Debian disregards its founding principles in order to
make an exception for GNU."  That's not a "great moral position"; it's
a poor, embarrassing, hypocritical one--"we require freedom, but only when
convenient".

(tangental)

>  - Creative Commons [3] (bsd-like) [4] (gpl-like)

CC-BY is not at all "BSD-like".  The BSD license is a simple, easily-
understandable permissive license.  The CC-BY license is many pages long,
applying many more restrictions than a BSD license and taking close
scrutiny to find them all.


[1] before anyone starts talking about "fair use", please review past
discussions on the topic, which sum to "many jurisdictions have no
notion of fair use, so Debian can not rely on it"

-- 
Glenn Maynard



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