Savannah rejects a project because it uses GPL

MJ Ray mjr at
Sat Feb 11 13:10:04 UTC 2006

"Alfred M\. Szmidt" <ams at>
> MJ Ray <mjr at>
> >  So what would you call the expanded "credit" clause that seeks to
> >  entice legacy publishers to use FDL rather than a free software
> >  licence?
> What do you mean?  What `credit' clause?

Clause 4.

> I don't see any `credit' clause in the GFDL.

Do you really see nothing requiring credit of the licensors?

> I don't even see any clause that tries to `entice
> legacy publishers to use the GFDL'. [...]

That's always been one of the main motives for the FDL. See:
"The GFDL is meant as a way to enlist commercial publishers [...]"
- Richard Stallman, "Why publishers should use the GNU FDL",
online at

>    > and has no `encyclopedia' problems,
>    How could one include parts from the FDL'd Emacs manual in a FDL'd
>    "Encyclopedia of GNU"? It looks like one must beg FSF's permission,
>    as relying on a "fair dealing" defence would limit uses.
> You simply include it, and follow the license.

If one tried to include part of the Emacs manual in a work about GNU
in general, one could not follow the licence: the GNU Manifesto and
the GPL would be about the main topic, so no longer Secondary, so
could not be included as Invariant, which is required by the licence.

> It seems that you haven't read the GFDL at all, maybe you should
> do that before basing your arguments on cloudy opinions. [...]

I have read the FDL closely, more than some @gnu it seems.

> >  I don't think that's a good example. Even today, many sites seem to
> >  ignore the FDL's terms when modifying Wikipedia and the Wikipedia
> >  FDL story includes questionable relicensing to remove invariant
> >  sections. See near the end of
> > by Barak
> >  Pearlmutter: [...]
> So you go about and quoting things from people who are simply
> irrelevant.  Why can't you show a single specific case?  I don't see
> Wikipedia getting burnt, I see Wikipedia thriving. [...]

You see nothing wrong with a project leading arbitrarily relicensing
a project that they hold no copyright assignments for? If so, we're
probably never going to agree on an example and I'm surprised that
someone @gnu doesn't see problems of relicensing without CAs.

> [...]  If it is so simple, you could atleast point me
> to one of these `numerous FAQs', I'm not sure what they try to answer. and for starters.

> FAQ's aren't software after all,

Some FAQs are software (some are even kept as programs, either in
general-purpose languages or specialised ones like latex or PostScript.)

> and your claim is that the GFDL is `unusable for free software'. 
> So once again, I ask you for concrete examples.

As an example, I suggest all FDL manuals, none of which are free
software, whether programs or otherwise.

> >  UTUTO-e has included non-free software programs in error (such as
> >  Macromedia Flash and Sun Java - sadly
> > has
> >  vanished) and still includes non-free software manuals.
> It includes manuals for non-free software? That seems silly.  Could
> you point out which manuals so that they can be removed?

Here's the parse tree I intended:
  (((non-)(free software)) (manuals))

> People make mistakes, if one tries to fix them, then all is good.
> Debian refuses to fix their mistakes by continued promotion of
> non-free software, and the exclusion of free documentation.

Debian does not promote non-free software. It just is on some
debian mirrors, which is a similar situation to GNU mirrors.
"If one tries to fix them, then all is good" yet you give debian
developers no credit for trying to drop non-free regularly.
Amusingly, FDL advocates seemed a significant force against
dropping non-free last time.

Excluding so-called "free documentation" adware is a feature not a bug. 
Free software needs manuals that are free software too.

> >  Debian doesn't include non-free software in the distribution,
> >  promises not to and whenever it happens, that's a serious bug.
> >  The debian bug tracker doesn't require passwords for most use.
> Debian does include non-free software.

It's not in the distribution, it's not on the CDs.

> It promotes its usage by
> giving space to host it.  Even Fedora is a better bet when it comes to
> completely free GNU/Linux systems from the looks.  That the Debian
> community tries to brush this away with `Oh, but it isn't in the
> _MAIN_ repository! So all is OK'.  What would you think about the GNU
> project and the GNU system having a specific section hosting non-free
> software?  I'm quite sure that you would think that would be
> hypocritical, atleast I would.

According to
the hub of the GNU mirror network (and so the equivalent of is, which hosts software
far more proprietary than even non-free on debian mirrors.
Yes, I do think it's hypocritical that some @gnu take such a hard
line against debian while most of the GNU mirrors do the same.
Why aren't you calling on GNU to stop promoting non-free software?

> Considering the hostility one recives from the Debian community when
> on tries to raise this, it might be a good thing for people to switch
> to other systems, that respect users freedoms; like for example
> UTUTO-e, BLAG or Dynebolic.

I think you mean "effective freedoms". Some freedoms seem to be
considered unnecessary by UTUTO-e. BLAG's pretty good, although
both it and Dynebolic seem to include software called "non-free"
by RMS in the past[1]. I can't see an easy way to check whether
that's actually the case at present, or if they've followed his
advice to strip the non-free parts and recompile from sources.
[1] -

Considering the hostility one recieves from the GNU community when
discussing manuals, one can see why others think it a good thing
to switch to other licences.


More information about the Discussion mailing list