FDL again, was: My concerns about GPLv3 process

Ben Finney ben at benfinney.id.au
Sat Feb 11 08:38:25 UTC 2006

[Please don't Cc me on messages to the list; your unsolicited message
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On 11-Feb-2006, Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
>    Free manuals must not be restricted to only ever be distributed
>    as books. The recipient should have the freedom to take pieces of
>    the manual and distribute it in other forms, such as a reference
>    card or sticker.
> Should's and should not's.

As specified by the four basic freedoms of the FSF.

> I think a `fair use' clause like this in the GFDL would be a good
> idea where you are not required to include the invariant sections,
> etc.

Why is an extra clause necessary? The existing restrictive FDL clauses
are the cause of the conflict with the for FSF freedoms.

> But where should one draw the line?

By comparing freedoms of a licensed work against the freedoms of the

>    [The FDL] causes direct problems with taking pieces of the FDL
>    manual and putting it into GPL code, or vice versa. The result is
>    not redistributable under either license.
> If you are the copyright holder, or have a specific entity that is
> the copyright holder, then this is no problem.

This is true only in the case where all copyright holders in both
works can agree to the change of license. If they all agree with such
a combination, why not choose licenses that allow this to begin with?

It does not cover cases where the copyright holders cannot all be
contacted to alter the license, nor where most agree but some do not.
In either case, the result is not redistributable under either
license. Again, if the original licensors chose licenses that granted
the same freedoms, there would be no need to contact them to exercise
those freedoms.

> It is no different than having a GPL incompatible license which
> happens to be a free software license.

True, which is why proliferation of licenses is to be strongly

 \       "I was the kid next door's imaginary friend."  -- Emo Philips |
  `\                                                                   |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney <ben at benfinney.id.au>
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