FDL requirements for original author

Sam Liddicott sam at liddicott.com
Sat Feb 9 07:27:47 UTC 2008

Thanks for posting the debian osition statement.
I didn't know thw GFDL was that deficient, but it clearly is.  Chers to those who contributed on debian-legal.

I'm of the opinion that documents are open to interpretation and processing by man or machine just as software, and the cloaking of software as a literary work for the purpose of crypto-export is an interesting examle; however we've had these discusions before - but I wonder where we'd be if Knuths classic works were GFDL.

My only explanation is that GFDL is written to solve a problem that isn't widely known yet...


-----Original Message-----
From: Ben Finney <ben at benfinney.id.au>
Sent: 09 February 2008 01:36
To: discussion at fsfeurope.org
Subject: Re: FDL requirements for original author

On 08-Feb-2008, David Gerard wrote:
> GFDL is free by all measures if you don't use invariant sections and
> so forth, isn't it? Does anyone dispute that?

Unmodifiable sections (not merely those the license calls "Invariant 
Sections") are only the most prominent of the problematic issues of 
the FDL. Even if a specific work does not exercise those parts of the 
license, the other problems remain.

    "Draft Debian Position Statement about the GNU Free Documentation 
    Not ratified, but does cover many of the problems with the freedom 
    of works under the FDL.

    "A Simple Guide to the Problems of the GNU FDL"

Many of the remaining problems have to do with the license attempting 
to have "documentation" distinct from "program", even though there are 
many works that are clearly both (e.g. Postscript documents).

It's unfortunate that some within the FSF choose to interpret 
"software" as equivalent to "program", instead of the more tenable 
position that "software" is a term as opposed to "hardware". This 
leads to the even worse position that documentation recipients deserve 
freedoms different from the freedoms deserved by recipients of 

 \          “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action, according to our |
  `\        will, within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of |
_o__)                                       others.” —Thomas Jefferson |
Ben Finney <ben at benfinney.id.au>

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