Savannah rejects a project because it uses GPL

Alessandro Rubini rubini at
Fri Feb 10 22:44:57 UTC 2006

while MJ Ray may be difficult to deal with, it seems to me you
are following just the same path, like each of you isn't understanding
what the other part is saying, while I'm sure you understand each
other perfectly.

This is one of several examples:

   mjray clearly hinging at fdl manuals:
   >    vanished) and still includes non-free software manuals.
   alfred smizd not getting the hint (or showing not to):
   > It includes manuals for non-free software? That seems silly.  Could
   > you point out which manuals so that they can be removed?

I'll bring my experience as author, touching a different point than
freeness/unfreeness, where there will never be agreement. I used the
FDL for a printed book when it was fresh new; I pushed for it with my
co-author and the relevant person in the publishing house, at the end
all of us were convinced it had to be the best choice, main reason
was because it was a FSF thing and thus obviously right.

Later, after following the discussion in debian-legal and elsewhere,
after thinking about it ourselves, we came to the conclusion that it
has been a very risky choice, and we switched away from it in the next
edition of the book.  What follows, though, is my own position, and I
don't know how much it is shared by other involved parties.

The main problem of the FDL, for authors, is in failing the copyleft
mechanism.  The invariant sections and cover texts, that can neither
be modified nor be removed, allow people to make derived works whose
technical contents can't be folded back in the original manual.  We
had no cover texts and a competing publishing house could republish,
bringing slightly up to date the material and sticking their own "a
gnu manual" as cover text, or an invariant about how copyleft kills
economy, thus preventing reuse of the added material by the original
authors or publishing house (if you ask to explain or "back up" my use
of "prevent", I won't).

Sure we could have though about it from the beginning, sticking our
own cover texts and invariant sections. Does this mean that the only
way to enforce copyleft with FDL is by sticking ads to the material?
Isn't it like patenting ideas just to prevent others from doing it

I agree the non-functional material is probably better protected by
denying modifications, but unremovable invariant and cover material
isn't the right solution, in my opinion. Removable invariants may
probably be, but the current FDL doesn't allow removing invariants
or cover texts.

> Debian does include non-free software.  It promotes its usage by
> giving space to host it.  Even Fedora is a better bet [...]

Flame bait, I'm sorry. Same sin you contest to your party.


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