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Re: Some ideas with Emacs

From: Marcin Borkowski
Subject: Re: Some ideas with Emacs
Date: Mon, 02 Dec 2019 13:53:44 +0100
User-agent: mu4e 1.1.0; emacs 27.0.50

On 2019-12-02, at 06:41, Richard Stallman <address@hidden> wrote:

> [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]
> CC licenses with either NC or ND are nonfree licenses.
> In particular, ND makes the entire manual into an invariant section.

That is precisely the point of using it.

Also, _please_ do not use the word "manual" here.  A book I'm thinking
of would _not_ be a manual - as I mentioned in my previous message, this
distinction is crucial here.  (I explain one difference below.)

> Invariant sections under the GFDL are ok because they are limited
> to political points which are outside the practical topic of the manual.
> CC-ND would make the technical substance of the manual invariant,
> so we would have to reject it.

Could you define "political points which are outside the practical topic
of the manual"?

Here is what I think (not having a definition, only a vague intuition).
A _manual_ should be e.g. comprehensive (i.e., cover the whole of its
subject).  A _book_ on a subject does not have to be so.  The topic
selection itself might be "political" (depending on the exact
understanding of the word).  This seems to confirm my intuition that
GFDL is a bad choice for books (even though it may be a good choice for

> This, We could not distribute, or even refer to, a manual carrying

I would not expect the FSF to distribute such a book.  However, "not
referring" comes to me as a surprise.  The FSF does refer to e.g. MS
Windows (in the Emacs manual, of all places).  How is a CC-NC/CC-ND book
(not "manual"!!!) worse than that?

> either of those licenses.  Please don't use a GNU mailing list to ask
> people to work on them.

Frankly, I do not understand that.  I think I roughly understand why you
consider limiting the freedom of modification of software or manuals
a bad thing.  But again - this is not a manual we are talking about!!!

In your essay on ebooks, you write: "For textbooks and most reference
works, publication of modified versions should be allowed as well, since
that encourages society to improve them".  I think this is not entirely
true.  I agree that out-of-date textbooks are a danger, but I wouldn't
really want to allow non-authors to modify some author's book (even if
they are "professional writers", whatever that means).  I agree that
this is a very shady area - after all, disallowing reuse would put
a stop to much of artistic creativity - but I would at least expect
a modified version to be (a) easily distinguishable from the original
and (b) prepared in such a way that the differeneces between the
original and the modified version are visible without specialized tools
(like diff).  From a cursory examination, GFDL secures (a), but not
necessarily (b).

And by the way, in the same essay you say: "It did its job well—back
then".  As a theoretical exercise, would you have a problem with
a paper-only (so, no electronic version) book on GNU Emacs, distributed
under CC-ND-something, so that people are free to photocopy it?

As an even more theoretical exercise, assume I wanted to write a book
(again, in the traditional sense - paper only, and either CC-ND or even
non-CC altogether - or maybe even electronic version, but with copying
prohibited just like with paper books, so with all the law exemptions
and no DRMs - by the way, this is roughly how ebooks work in my country)
called "Memoirs of an Emacs user", which would be an artistic
representation of my process of Emacs and Org-mode gradually embracing
my life;-) - possibly including practical tips on Emacs usage?  Would
you mind talking about it here?  Would you mind asking people for input
(like, assume I might want to include some short interviews with people
from the Emacs community there)?

(Note: I'm not saying that I _want_ or _can_ write such a book, or that
anyone would find it interesting.  I just want to understand your stance
on books and what is allowed to talk about here, if only to decide if
I agree with you.)


Marcin Borkowski

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