Savannah rejects a project because it uses GPL

MJ Ray mjr at
Sat Feb 11 20:49:10 UTC 2006

simo <simo.sorce at>
> On Sat, 2006-02-11 at 13:10 +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> > As an example, I suggest all FDL manuals, none of which are free
> > software, whether programs or otherwise.
> Do I understand it correctly that you view any digital authorship work
> as software ?

Not quite.

> Is it correct to say you consider even physical books as software ? 

Probably not, but things like machine-readable printing and
single-purpose ebook devices are blurring the difference,
which makes that a difficult question to answer in abstract.

> If not, where's the differentiating point ?

I'd probably describe software as something like routines, compilers,
and other non-hardware aspects of the computer.
[after John W Tukey, January 1958, American Mathematical Monthly]

Differentiating software and hardware is not always possible:
hence, /firmware/ covers one grey area. Intuitively, I'd suggest
software can't be disrupted by touch, but I've not considered
that idea long and I don't think physicists have a totally solid
definition of /touch/ anyway, so it probably just moves the question.

I think part of the reason why no-one has proposed a welcome social
contract amendment to allow less freedom for documentation is that
the copyrightable expression of documentation can be software,
even though documentation is not always software.

Hope that helps explain,
MJ Ray - personal email, see
Work:  Jabber/SIP ask

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