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Re: (end of) Development and documentation in Debian

hendrik@topoi.pooq.com wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 02, 2006 at 06:34:24PM +0300, Andrei Popescu wrote:
> > Tyler Smith <tyler.smith@mail.mcgill.ca> wrote:
> > 
> > > 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).
> > 
> > This has probably nothing to do with license.
> > 
> > > 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?
> > 
> > Imagine someone writing a piece of documentation for a software, but
> > after some time stops keeping it up-to-date. Even if someone else wants
> > to take over and update it, it might be impossible to do so because of
> > the license. So instead of contributing the new writer just gives up,
> > because it would mean to rewrite everything. This way the community
> > looses twice.
> In international copyright law, there are rights belonging to the author 
> that he cannot sign away.  These include the right to be considered the 
> author.  This means that if the document mentions him as author (perhaps 
> on a title page) it is illegal to change that to, say, a different name.
> Thus there are restricions on the changes that can be made to a document,
> even if he chooses to allow it.  Should we put every document that is 
> signed by its author in the nonfree category for this reason?  In 
> theory, this would apply to code, too.

Doesn't this make the invariant section for copyright notice almost

> Perhaps we need to adjust policy about the meaning of freeness 
> when it comes to documentation.  There may be appropriate 
> restrictions to allow in documantation, and others to forbid.  
> Perhaps a new license is appropriate as a model for future authors, 
> perhaps not.  Perhaps new category of repositoris between free and 
> nonfree ...
> Merely considering reams of documentation to be nonfree is not the 
> long-term solution.  We need something positive as well.

This thread made me curious so I browsed the archives a bit. It seems
documentation licenses have been discussed for several *years* on
debian-legal. One example thread starts here:


Apparently GFDL has more issues then just the invariant sections.
Whether you approve or not is a completely different issue.

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
(Albert Einstein)

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