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Re: POLL: Should Debian remove all GNU FDL-licensed documentation?

On 4/14/05, Brian Nelson <pyro@debian.org> wrote:
> It seems that after sarge is released, Debian developers are planning to
> declare the GNU Free Documentation License non-free.  This means that
> all FDL documents currently in main will be either removed from the
> archive altogether or moved into the non-free archive.  Since putting
> documentation in non-free requires a creation and maintenance of a new
> and separate source package, I believe most of the documentation will be
> removed completely.  Only the most popular documents, or those with
> maintainers willing to maintain them will appear in non-free.
> Affected documents include virtually all documentation released by the
> FSF, including:
> * The various Emacs manuals
> * The GDB manual
> * The GCC manual
> * The glibc manual
> * The GNU make manual
> and many others...
> The three major releases for the GFDL being declared non-free are:
> * Invariant Sections
> * The "DRM" restriction
> * Transparent and Opaque copies
> Invariant sections are "secondary sections" that must not contain
> anything that could fall directly within the document's overall subject.
> They cannot be modified or removed from the document.  Most FDL
> documents do not contain invariant sections--I only count 6 on my
> system, though 5 of them are listed above.
> The "DRM" restriction refers to the FDL clause that disallows "technical
> measures to obstruct or control" reading and copying.  This is intended
> to prevent the use of DRM on FDL documents, but can be interpreted to
> mean that you can't use FDL on encrypted filesystems (though this is not
> the intent of the writers of the FDL).
> I honestly don't understand the problem with the "Transparent and Opaque
> copies", so I won't try to summarize that here.  You may find a
> discussion of it in the position statement link below.
> You may find the full text of the FDL here:
>   http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html
> And a draft Debian position statement here:
>   http://people.debian.org/~srivasta/Position_Statement.xhtml
> And now for the questions:
> 1. Is it acceptable for Debian to permanently remove most FDL documents
> so that they are no longer available on Debian mirrors or on Debian CDs?

> 2. Is it acceptable if all FDL documents were moved to non-free so that
> they could still be downloaded from Debian mirrors?  Note that they
> still would not appear on most Debian CDs.

> 3. Should Debian allow documents without invariant sections in main, and
> only remove/move-to-non-free those with invariant sections?


> 4. Should Debian modify the Social Contract and/or Debian Free Software
> Guidelines[1] to allow all FDL documents to remain in the main archive
> and appear on Debian CDs?


>   [1] http://www.debian.org/social_contract
> 5. Is Debian making a big out of a minor issue?  Should Debian be
> focusing more on creating a usable operating system and less on worrying
> about licensing issues?

> Please restrict your answers to "Yes", "No", or "Uhhhh I dunno".

Paolo Alexis Falcone

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