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Re: OK to distribute autoconf.texi under the GPL too?

From: Russ Allbery
Subject: Re: OK to distribute autoconf.texi under the GPL too?
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2004 11:11:47 -0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.1007 (Gnus v5.10.7) XEmacs/21.4 (Security Through Obscurity, linux)

Paul Eggert <address@hidden> writes:
> Bob Friesenhahn <address@hidden> writes:

>> One approach that Autoconf could take is to provide a special exception
>> so that any sample code copied from the documentation is licensed under
>> the GPL or LGPL rather than GFDL.

> Thanks for this suggestion.  At the end of this message is a proposed
> patch along those lines.  Would this patch be enough to satisfy the
> Debian folks?

Almost certainly not.  The problem from Debian's perspective is that the
consensus so far is that the GFDL is not a free license, so works covered
by it cannot be distributed as part of Debian due to the Debian Free
Software Guidelines.  (This was recently put to a vote of all Debian
developers and it was made clear that this applies to all content in
Debian, not just compiled programs.)

This patch makes all of the program examples in the Autoconf manual free,
which is a step forward, but the text is still problematic.

(I'm not a good person to comment on the details of the argument behind
that working consensus; the archives of debian-legal are a better
resource.  Note that not all Debian developers believe that the problems
with the GFDL in the absence of invarient sections are sufficiently severe
to make the license non-free, but my impression is that they are in the

Russ Allbery (address@hidden)             <>

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