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Re: Turning GNU into a bottom-up organization

From: Florian Weimer
Subject: Re: Turning GNU into a bottom-up organization
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2019 20:02:53 +0100

* Jean Louis:

> * Samuel Thibault <> [2019-10-27 16:33]:
>> Alfred M. Szmidt, le dim. 27 oct. 2019 13:56:00 -0400, a ecrit:
>> > we have participants that clearly do not agree with the GNU projects
>> > stance on an issue.
>> > 
>> > This shows the error quite clearly in why having the community
>> > deciding philosophical topics of the GNU project is a grave danger.
>> No, this shows that the philosophy is not that clearly defined: what
>> are these invariant sections in the documentation, are they really free
>> software?
> For example, I cannot say, and it is morally not just to say that
> Samuel Thibault said: "what are these invariant sections in the
> documentation, are they really proprietary software?" -- because it
> was your opinion, I cannot say that you said "proprietary" when you
> said "free".
> But I can distribute your opinion, and I am free to distribute it.

I think this misses the point.  You can still distribute terminal
software that rewrites one statement into the other.  The consensus
seems to be that it is necessary for practical purposes to allow such
behavioral modifications to free software.  This is why I find the
contrast with unmodifiable (parts of) documentation so strange.

This is even a somewhat relevant discussion in the context of GNU
manuals: Both the standalone Info viewer and the Info mode in Emacs
suppress required notices found in Info files in older GNU manuals (or
newer ones that have not been updated to include proper markup for
copyright sections).

I think the risk that someone takes the invariant parts of the Emacs
manual or the glibc manual, rewrites them into something else, and
distributes the result to a large audience who actually reads it is
vanishingly small.  Compare this to the current downside that Debian
users lack these GNU manuals in their Info viewers, and the
frustration this causes to manual writers who know all too well that
most of their users will never read what they wrote because of that.

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