FDL again, was: My concerns about GPLv3 process

Bjoern Schiessle schiessle at fsfe.org
Wed Feb 8 23:04:07 UTC 2006


Eneko Lacunza <hispalinux.listas at enlar.net> wrote:
> Why is different the "free" as in freedom concept for documentation from
> the concept of "free" as in freedom for "software"?

I think this is the crucial point. As long one group think that
everything is software and everything should fulfil the free software
definition and another group make some distinctions between free
software and free documentation, it makes no sense to discuss the GFDL
because there is no common base.

So the first step should be to agree that we talk about free
documentation and that their could be some differences. Only than it's
possible to talk about the GFDL and about possible differences between
free software and free documentation.
Personally i understand both sides.
On one side manuals are basically as functional as software, so
everyone should have the same freedom for manuals as for software.  
On the other side we have the GFDL which was afaik mainly written with
real books in mind. I can understand when the FSF wants to release
their books with a special foreword or a special front- and back
cover and i agree that it's not fundamentally necessary that people
can change the foreword or the cover of a book.

I think it could be really hard to bring both sides together.

Maybe it should be possible to use only the functional information
without the invariant sections if someone doesn't use the manual as a
whole but only some chapters for his new manual.
I think this could be a good compromise. For the functional part
people would have the same freedom as for software without carrying
all the invariant sections along and for the book as a whole the
author would have the possibility of some personal notes or a personal
front- back cover.
But i don't know if it is possible to define in a license the
difference between the work as a whole (which should of course include
bug-fixes, updates, extensions etc.) and only parts of a work which
are used for a new work.


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