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Re: DFSG4 and combined works

On Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 10:07:00AM -0800, Thomas Bushnell BSG wrote:
> The Emacs Manual requires rather more than one additional sheet of
> paper.  If a small footnote could handle it, that would be fine.

You can not include the whole text of GPL in a footnote either, not to
mention that you are not allowed to include the text of GPL anywhere
in the document.  You have to distribute it printed separately.

> Suppose gdb didn't already have docstrings, and you wanted to add them
> using text from the GDB manual.  You would not be allowed to do this,
> because use of that manual text invokes the GFDL, and would require
> including the invariant sections in the program.  This would
> contradict the GPL (because the GFDL and the GPL are incompatible).
> But this is not merely a license incompatibility. 

It is merely a license incompatibility as I will show below.

> If GDB were under the BSD license, you still couldn't do this and
> have a free program, because the standards for free programs (even
> by the FSF's definition) are that they can't carry around invariant
> sections and still be a free program.

If GDB were under BSD, you could:

   1. Add docstrings to the sources of GDB in a way permissible by
      GFDL.  In particular the invariant sections should be present in
      all opaque copies of the produced documentation.  GFDL does not
      place restrictions on how the invariant sections are present in
      the transparent form, so it is enough if they exist in separate

   2. Add the text of the BSD license in a new invariant section.

   3. Use the following license for the new GDB sources:

      Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify THE NAME
      under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version
      1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software
      Foundation; with with the Invariant Sections being LIST THEIR
      TITLES, with the Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the
      Back-Cover Texts being LIST.

      Additionally, you have permission to use the non-commented parts
      of the sources of THE NAME under the following license:


> When this problem was pointed out to the FSF, the response was that
> the manual author could just relicense the text so that you could put
> it in your program.  This is of course irrelevant, but explains why
> the FSF doesn't see the problem.

Whenever we have license incompatibility the only solution is to ask
the author to relicense the text.  BTW, with some tricks it is
possible to use docstrings from GFDL document even in a GPL-covered
program (you distribute the GPL and GFDL parts only separately and
combine them only when you want to edit the sources; it is possible to
do the combining and the separation automatically).

Anton Zinoviev

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