GFDL (was: EU Copyright..)

MJ Ray markj at
Mon May 6 12:23:16 UTC 2002

Alessandro Rubini <rubini at> wrote:
> [...] A program usually has little "philosophy" in it, it's mostly
> practical work.

I thought the GNU documentation licence was intended for manuals?

> [...] There is little damage to the original author if the modified
> program doesn't work.

If it works in an "incorrect manner", does it damage the original author? 
Is the author harmed if their software is modified to help run and promote a
detestable organisation?

> [...] Such a document can be printed on paper, so the reader can't readily
> get to the original document.

Programs may be run disconnected from a network.

> [...] And even if there is "prominent notice" of every file that has been
> changed, it's rarely read.

I think people normally read the author's names on the "cover".

> [...] I also think that "verbatim copying is permitted" is the best
> license for non-documentation writings.

That may be the case, if you purely want to spread your opinion.  It's not a
Free licence, though, is it?  It doesn't help people to build upon your
work, unless you allow "verbatim copying in whole or part with attribution".

Despite its name, the GFDL appears not to give the full freedom to use,
study, modify and redistribute.  After thinking about this some more, I
think Debian are probably correct to classify it as non-free and FSFE may
wish to consider asking GNU to fix their licence, even only the name.
MJR ,----------------------------------------------------
    | Q. Do you need a net-based application developing, 
    |    or advice and training about web technology?
    | A. I suggest you try

More information about the Discussion mailing list