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[gNewSense-users] Re: GFDL

From: Yavor Doganov
Subject: [gNewSense-users] Re: GFDL
Date: Sun, 02 Sep 2007 16:04:50 +0300
User-agent: Wanderlust/2.15.1 (Almost Unreal) SEMI/1.14.6 (Maruoka) FLIM/1.14.7 (Sanjō) APEL/10.6 Emacs/23.0.50 (i486-pc-linux-gnu) MULE/5.0 (SAKAKI) (gNewSense GNU/Linux)

MJ Ray wrote:
> Not even RMS disputed that GFDL with Invariant Sections are not free
> software, see

It is not free software, simply because it is not software.  There is
one big difference between programs (libraries, etc.) and
documentation -- the latter is perfectly usable in printed form and
directly interpretable by the human eye.  One doesn't need a computer
for that.

The main reason why a free software license (such as GPL) is not
recommended for documentation, is that it imposes an artificial
barrier in distribution.  For example, when we share free programs, we
share the source code.  This is not feasible when we share books --
the normal way to share a printed book is just to give it.  There is
also a tradition as long as the first non-artistic book was ever
written that it is perfectly suitable the author to express political
views or thoughts not directly related with the main content.  The GNU
FDL just follows this quite natural tradition -- a writer should be
allowed to write "Dedicated to my students at the Foo University" and
such a thing must not make the documentation non-free.

I would be very unpleasantly surprised (to put it midly) if gNewSense
takes Debian's position.

> Maybe when FSF publish their Free Works Definition to go alongside
> the Free Software Definition, and how to tell the difference between
> Software and Works, I will understand their reasoning.

People are expected to apply common sense.  The main question to ask
in such cases is "How is the users' freedom threatened?".  Maybe what
you suggest is something that has to be done sooner or later.  Until
then, people can read the resoning from

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