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Re: GFDL GR, vote please!

On Sat, Feb 11, 2006 at 02:31:30PM -0700, Hubert Chan wrote:
> > If my opinion is not the same as yours I am allowed to express my
> > opinion in additional invariant section.  Or if I think your opinion
> > is misleading the readers I can object your opinion in footnotes.
> I think you completely missed my point. 

Yes, I missed it, albeit not completely. ;-)

Your essay serves two purposes: 1. to support some of your ideas and
2. to represent your way of thinking up to the smallest details.  The
invariant sections are the way for you to ensure that both 1. and
2. will be satisfied all the time (albeit not in the best possible
way).  It would not be possible to protect 2. if the license permited
modifications of your essay.

> This has *nothing* to do with expressing a different opinion.  This
> is about expressing my opinion in a better, more coherent way.  This
> is all about taking what I wrote, keeping the useful bits, and
> *making improvements* where needed.  This is about creating a better
> essay from the one I wrote without having to start from scratch --
> something that you could give to someone else, and convince them of
> my views.  It is completely useless to give someone else my original
> essay, plus your modifications -- it would just be too painful to
> read.

Yes, you are right -- I am not allowed to improve 1. in a ways that
would invalidate 2.  If you think that 2. is not important for you,
then in the copyright notice you can give to the users additional
permission to modify your essay under certain conditions.

> (And no, you are not allowed to object to my opinion in footnotes,
> because then you would be modifying the invariant section.  The only way
> you can object is to add another section.)

The text of GFDL says that you have to "preserve all the Invariant
Sections of the Document, unaltered in their text and in their
titles".  This means you are allowed to use footnotes - the text will
still be unaltered.  Very often the publishers are adding footnotes
without permission to modify the author's text.  In translated texts
the footnotes are even more often (again without explicit permission
from the authors).

> > You didn't have to include your essay in an invariant section.  You
> > however used invariant section so I suppose that for you the arguments
> > in your essay are not the most valuable about it.
> Why would you make that assumption?  An invariant section is basically
> the only way of preventing non-removal.

I see.

> The question is whether or not useful modification is being
> prevented.  My license prevents you from taking my text and
> modifying it to be more useful.  That makes it non-free.

I see.  I can answer that there are other ways to achieve the seeking
result but I must admit that if you don't give me explicit permission
to modify your section the result will not be the best possible.

> If it is not difficult, then please show how *my particular* example
> prevents useful modifications.

It makes impossible to adapt your code to another programming
language.  However ... [read below]

> OK, fine.  Then instead of saying that the variable "invariant" is
> unmodifiable, I just say that you must cause the resulting binary to
> include that text, unmodified.  Is such a license free?

This probably means that the final result of your code has to be
executable binary.  However:

Suppose your license contains the following rule:

   If the modified program normally reads commands interactively when
   run, you must cause it, when started running for such interactive
   use in the most ordinary way, to print or display the following

Notice that this requirement is very similar to section 2c of GPL.  Do
we consider such a license free?

My personal opinion is that this depends of what exactly the license
requires to be printed.  However I am unable to give any precise

Anton Zinoviev

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