GFDL (was: EU Copyright..)

MJ Ray markj at
Mon May 6 18:46:21 UTC 2002

Alex Hudson <home at> wrote:
> [...] I think it's clear that a number of key functions are intended,
> though, and that the GFDL is the minimum required to meet them.=20

Do these "functions" include restricting the freedom to modify beyond what
is absolutely required?

> Which section are you referring to here? I have read the GFDL over twice
> now, and I can't even see the word 'advertisement', and neither can my
> find. Are you talking about the 'Endorsements' section?

No, I am speaking of invariant sections, which (because they may not be
technical content) are pretty much advertisements under another name, as far
as I can see.

> The GFDL is aimed at reference and technical works, and there are
> well-established rules about authorship, citation, endorsement, etc. I
> think this is why it is more complex than the GPL in this regard.

Yes, that may be the problem.  The GFDL is trying to play in the established
book market, which tries to restrict the freedom of authors and readers.  I
think it hands too much power to publishers.

> However, I don't buy that it's non-free - the technical information, the
> whole value of the document, is freely modifyable and distributable.
> That's all that matters to me, really, the rest is etiquette.

How can you say that it is "non-free"?  Far too much of it may be
unmodifiable and have to be passed on with every copy.

Leave the etiquette as etiquette instead of trying to encode it in a licence
which makes the documentation unusable in certain situations that you didn't
consider.  The technical value can be made copyleft better under other
licences instead of this one.

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