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

From: Brian Palmer
Subject: Re: Permission to use portions of the recent GNU Emacs Manual
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 09:56:34 -0700

On Sun, 12 Dec 2004 09:57:56 +0100, David Kastrup <address@hidden> wrote:
> Karl Fogel <address@hidden> writes:
> > 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's bad for the XEmacs developers and other Emacs forks, irrelevant
> for us, since only FSF copyright assigned contributions are accepted
> into Emacs and its manual, anyway, and the copyright holder is free to

Not true, e.g., lao.el is Copyright (C) 1997 Electrotechnical 
Laboratory, JAPAN. I'm also going to say it's a bad thing for 
everybody, in second order effects if not primary. The more 
cooperation that exists between the many emacs forks out 
there, the more cooperation that can be built on. Emacs profits
from that cooperation, too. 

The question that comes , then, is this obstacle to cooperation 
so very valuable to emacs? What is the net benefit of having the
emacs manual only available under the GFDL? 

> move stuff between licences within the scope of the assignment
> contracts.
> > It is also confusing how the GFDL interacts with extracted docs from
> > non-GFDL code, as you point out.
> Again, this is not a problem for Emacs development itself (the
> copyright all being by the FSF), but for every fork of it.

And for every elisp application built on emacs. There are any number of 
elisp applications out there which will involve the authors looking 
through the emacs manual for reference. The GFDL status of the 
manual has clear implications on their ability to copy info out for 
docstrings or basing any functions on examples given in the 

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