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Re: (end of) Development and documentation in Debian

This has been getting increasingly aggravating for me, as I find more and more of the documentation is either stowed out of sight in non-free, or has actually been put in some sort of package purgatory while someone decides what to do with it (ie. the elisp docs, which are currently not in etch, although I did find them in unstable).

I do understand the motivation behind the DFSG, but should we be considering everything that is stored in digital format to be software? I believe free software, by Debian or FSF definition, is a good and necessary thing. However, I don't have a problem with the author of a document file requiring the preservation of invariant sections. It's not clear to me how this is an infringment on my rights as a user. Do we need to hold documentation to the same standards that we use for programs?

On the other hand, I have now learned not to be afraid of the non-free repositories. I had always assumed that it was full of nasty proprietary goodies. What a surpise to realise that there's lots of stuff there just because the license precludes selling it, or requires the preservation of invariant sections.

From an advocacy point of view it might be worth considering what message we're sending to users if they have to use the non-free repos just to get basic documentation. Should make-doc really be in the same category as proprietary drivers?



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