My concerns about GPLv3 process

MJ Ray mjr at
Wed Feb 1 13:48:03 UTC 2006

"Alfred M. Szmidt" <ams at>
> Putting documentation and software into the same box doesn't make
> sense, the GFDL makes perfect sense on the other hand in my mind.

Nowadays, lots of software ships with program and docs on the same
media and this is not often called a new or nonsensical development.

> Werner Koch <wk at>
> [...]  In fact the GFDL hinders development of free documentation.
> Do you have anything to back this up?  GFDLed documentation is free to
> be shared, used, modified, and viewed [...]

Apart from the bit which is slightly off the current topic, but
could be relevant for future topics! If I staple a program to a
dead squirrel and the copyright licence says every copy must be
linked to a dead squirrel, is it free software?

> >  The GFDL has been written with publishers in mind; look at the
> >  terms: most make sense only for woodware.  And later the own
> >  publishing branch ceases work?
> Do you know why it stopped? I don't. [...]

Has it stopped? Anyone got an announcement? I missed it.

>    Have you seen any change on ORA's licenses?
> I'm not sure what you mean.

It was claimed that there would be a great explosion of manuals
for free software under the FDL because of its adware nature.

> >  I can't grab a single short text from the very good glibc manual
> >  and use it with other projects - unless I add a bunch of useless
> >  attachments.
> Yes you can, that is protected under fair use.

Only for limited purposes, which vary from country to country.
In general, it's not legal to do so.

> >  The GPL might be inconvenient for a publisher but it works far
> >  better for documentation.
> I disagree.  There are many problems with applying the GPL to
> documentation.  The GPL was designed for software in mind, other uses
> tend to cripple the actual goal (the distinction between `binary' and
> `source' comes to mind).

The binary/source thing seems better than the opaque/transparent
problem of the FDL. What problems with GPL for manuals? The only
one that sticks for some uses is public performance.

> [...] a _reference_ manual should be part of the code,
> this is something I could agree to. [...]

So GPL for reference manuals would be fine by you?
How about tutorials which may have programs derived from it?

MJ Ray - personal email, see
Work:  Jabber/SIP ask

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