My concerns about GPLv3 process

Alfred M. Szmidt ams at
Wed Feb 1 15:22:53 UTC 2006

   > 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

You can still apply dual licensing for each part.

   > [...]  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?

No, since you cannot modify it to your hearts content because it is a
functional work.  But I was speaking about documentation, not
software, different rights apply.  If we do s/software/documentation/
then it would be free documentation.

   > >  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.

I was taking Werner's word for it.  I haven't heard an announcment

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

Making claims about the future is always silly, and should be taken
with a grain of salt.  

   > >  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.

In general it is, see article 10 of the Berne convention.  But it does
leave qwuite alot up to each indiviual country to state what fair use
is in detail.  In either case, fair use applies to most/all European
countries and the USA.

   > >  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. 

I type the manual on a typewriter, what is the source code for that?

   What problems with GPL for manuals? The only one that sticks for
   some uses is public performance.

A manual licensed under the GPL is free to be modified in any way or
form, not just technical content, but also non-technical content.  You
don't need the right to modify my dedication to the fairies and
dragons.  You do need the right to modify the technical content

   > [...] 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?

I didn't say that, I said that the reference manual and the code
should be in the same code base.  Nothing about licensing terms. You
can mix GFDL and GPL in the same code base (and if you do not collect
copyright assignments, then you can only blame yourself).  Nothing
prohibits this.


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