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[AUCTeX-devel] Re: New auctex version coming, and the freeze

From: David Kastrup
Subject: [AUCTeX-devel] Re: New auctex version coming, and the freeze
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2006 12:20:16 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Frank Küster <address@hidden> writes:

> "Davide G. M. Salvetti" <address@hidden> wrote:
>> yes, I knew from the developers' list.  I will be able to work on
>> it next week.  We're going to have a problem, though, the same old
>> problem of the new DFSG interpretation WRT the GNU FDL.  David will
>> release the manual for 11.54 under the GNU FDL
> That will mean that I will no longer contribute to AUCTeX
> documentation.  Bad enough that I have signed the paperwork and
> cannot prevent my old texts from being incorporated in a document
> under a misdrafted license.

Well, it is not like this should come as a major surprise, since
AUCTeX has become a GNU project.  I don't particularly like the
license in its current state, but it is slated for change, anyway, and
it has been accepted by a Debian vote as being GFDL-compliant when
used without invariant sections.

>> and he will probably have to add front and back covers (as per GNU
>> Maintainer Guidelines), though no invariant sections.
> Front and back covers are invariant;

The consist of "A GNU Manual" and "You have freedom to copy and modify
this GNU Manual, like GNU software.", respectively, to be used on mass
printings.  Not really a terrible threat to freedom in my book, but
Debian has its own agendas.

> however that doesn't matter for my decision.

Of course, you are free to ignore the vote done by Debian developers
in your decision of what you want to work on.  I try balancing my
duties as a GNU maintainer with the real world including Debian
developers, and reactions like that make me wonder why I bother at

>> At this moment David is talking to RMS to try and have an exception
>> (i.e., pure GNU FDL without front and back cover, no invariant
>> sections).
> I was under the impression that if a manual was under GPL, it could
> stay, and need not be relicensed.

The manual never was under the GPL.  I recommend you need the previous
license notes.

> Anybody on the auctex developers' list feeling like forking from the
> last GPL'ed manual?

There is no such thing as a "last GPL'ed manual".  Naturally, such a
fork would not get distributed with the main distribution of AUCTeX.
One of the points of turning AUCTeX into a GNU project was to make use
of the infrastructure of the FSF, and to make it possible at one point
of time to include AUCTeX into Emacs proper.

AUCTeX is not useful without Emacs, so it is not like there is much
sense into trying to make AUCTeX closer to Debian than Emacs is (of
course, some people might use AUCTeX with XEmacs, too, but that is a
project and combination that does not seem to have better prospects to
me than AUCTeX/Emacs).

People assigning copyright to the Free Software Foundation are, of
course, free to provide their work under different licenses to other
people, according to the assignment contract.  So you could try asking
all the people involved.

Since the point of turning AUCTeX into a GNU project was to unify
forces, not divide them, I would not be inclined to do this for my
part of the work.  Where I am dissatisfied with the GFDL, I prefer
working this out with the FSF on the next version of the GFDL, and
possibly the maintainer guidelines and their interpretation.

Yes, being a GNU project also means having to follow some guidelines.
AUCTeX and its development and the infrastructure were slumping when I
decided to submit it for a GNU project, with support of all the
previous maintainers.  I considered the price the developers pay by
following the guidelines a reasonable return for the support of the
FSF which, by the way, includes the mailing lists.  A fork would have
to set up its own lists.

If you feel different about this, feel free to start a fork: that is
what free software is about.  I doubt you will have more success than
AUCTeX had before it became a GNU project, and there was no
"coompetition" at that time.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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