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Re: Scratch buffer annoyance

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Scratch buffer annoyance
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 15:10:03 +0900

David Kastrup writes:

 > GPLing the docs would mean that people could, for example, "adapt" the
 > GNU Manifesto to what they consider changing circumstances.

Yeah, I'm aware of that.  That's why I wrote of "self-interest", I
realize that Richard will never allow such a thing except under very
controlled (by the FSF) circumstances---if such control is infeasible,
too bad for those of us who would like to use FSF-owned content but
can't, because it would mean throwing away contributions that we value

The important thing here, though, is that Debian's policy is as
logically well-founded as Euclidean geometry, and a little simpler
than the different-freedoms-for-different-domains policy of GNU, which
I guess you could consider sort of hyperbolic.  Since it's an issue of
axioms, you can expect the problem of docs being separated from code
in redistributions of Emacs to continue to exist indefinitely, and you
should look for a way to minimize burden on that assumption.

 > As a note aside, it is sort of amusing that the XEmacs documentation
 > is classified as "free" by Debian in spite of indelible, inviolate
 > sections, while Emacs documentation is "non-free" because of them.

This is the wrong mailing list to report such bugs.

 > I guess the GFDL by any other name smells sweeter.

No, I would imagine that the fact that there is no very publicly-
discussed template license for pre-GFDL Emacs docs, only a license
embedded in the permissions notice, hid the issue from debian-legal.

A bug report would undoubtedly end the discrepancy, but you won't get
any thanks from Richard for it, I bet, because it won't result in
Debian changing its policy vis-a-vis GFDL-licensed content.  Rather it
will result in a public deprecation of a license he considers free
(though otherwise badly flawed) in its domain (ie, documentation).

 > As long as the GFDL has different aims to serve as the GPL, I don't
 > see that there is an easy way out.

There is *no* way out.  Any time you put the political or commercial
goals of authors ahead of freedom, freedom will suffer.  Even if the
political goal of said authors is freedom itself.  Indeed this is a
paradox worthy of installation in the Zen canon as a koan.

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