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Re: Permission to use portions of the recent GNU Emacs Manual

From: Karl Fogel
Subject: Re: Permission to use portions of the recent GNU Emacs Manual
Date: 11 Dec 2004 18:26:13 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.3.50

Stefan Monnier <address@hidden> writes:
> I don't see any benefit from using the GFDL over the GPL that would justify
> the downside of preventing the XEmacs people from using our documentation.
> [ Unless we consider that as an upside, but I really don't see any good
> reason why we should be so antagonizing. ] Similarly, the licensing problems
> it can cause when extracting docs and doc-skeletons out of code
> is worrisome.

I agree.

It is bad that our docs are license-incompatible with XEmacs's GPL'd
docs.  It is also confusing how the GFDL interacts with extracted docs
from non-GFDL code, as you point out.

In general, the GFDL's requirements take a great deal of time and
concentration to understand (this is heard so often, from so many,
that I trust it is uncontroversial now).  This makes the GFDL
problematic for reference documentation like the Emacs manual, because
such documentation gets small, lightweight contributions from many
different people.  The burden of simply *understanding* the GFDL
significantly raises the overhead of making an individual

I am reluctant to contribute to the Emacs manual under the GFDL.  I
feel like my contributions are going into a restrictive pool, where
many will not be able to make use of them.  Apparently, Alan Mackenzie
feels this way too.  I wonder how many others?

No one who works on Emacs would be reluctant to contribute to a GPL'd
manual, I'll bet.


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