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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Front page to wiki now modifiable again

From: Andrew Suffield
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] Front page to wiki now modifiable again
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004 00:05:26 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/

On Wed, Mar 24, 2004 at 06:21:34PM -0800, Tom Lord wrote:
>     > From: Andrew Suffield <address@hidden>
>     > > Well, what is _your_ definition of "free", since you think it is
>     > > applicable as a touchstone which must be used to test any FSF
>     > > licensee?
>     > Here it is:
>     > 
>     >
>     > Clear, precise, and decidedly acceptable. Minus the hippie stuff, it's
>     > the first test usually applied to any license under review to test
>     > whether it is free enough for Debian (the DFSG is essentially this
>     > written more explicitly, plus some pragmatic restrictions).
>     > RMS has acknowledged that the GFDL is not free under this definition.
> But that definition applies to _software_.  The freedoms enumerated
> directly pertain to software (for example, you can not "run"
> documentation).

Every time somebody tries to make that claim, somebody else produces
some documentation you can run. TeX is a veritable library of such
things. Then you have things like the output of tla --help -
documentation or software? What about help2man?

If you want to try and claim that documentation is not software then
you must provide a relevant[0] way for distinguishing between
documentation and software. Merely picking cases from either end of
the spectrum is not adequete. After watching many people try, fail,
and give up, I do not believe there is a meaningful distinction here.

You can trivially transform the essay such that it refers to
"documentation" instead of "software", and it still forms a strong
argument (change "run" to "use", etc).

Really, heard it all before, and seen the position abandoned by its
most adament proponents.

> Would you apply the definition in that essay to a political essay?  or
> to a musical recording?

Not sure, don't care. I would apply it to everything that goes into Debian.

> If so, can you elaborate on the analogy you
> have in mind and why it is a good idea?

[0] You could claim that paper manuals are clearly not software
    (although people have even found cases where that isn't clear),
    but this isn't relevant; paper manuals can't go into Debian.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' : |
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