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Re: Voila! A compromise!

On Mon, Jul 31, 2000 at 04:35:34AM -0600, Richard Stallman wrote:
>     O.k., but so what. People seem to people o.k. with the idea of just
>     separating the documentation by a flag of some sort.
> Making two separate lists will do the job much better and more
> thoroughly than just flagging non-free items in one common list.
> If the non-free documents are segregated, put in a separate list, that
> will send a clear message: LDP documents ought to be free, and
> non-free documents are second-class.  Just labeling the non-free
> documents in a common list will not express this message.

I don't like the idea of two separate lists.  It makes it harder to
find docs.  In my case, my HOWTOs would be considered non-free since
they require that anyone making a modification and then distributing
it must send a copy to my email address.  There are various degrees of
being non-free and just splitting the docs into 2 categories doesn't
reveal the whole story.  One important category is what all our docs
meet now: they must be freely redistributable in any media.  But many
docs in this category are not "free" since they restrict (or prohibit)

> (If the LDP decides that any new documents *must* be free, as I have
> suggested, that would send an even stronger message.)

Another reason that I'm opposed to segregating the docs is that it is
part of what the Poet calls a "compromise".  This means that we would
make our requirements less free and begin to accepts docs that
prohibit commercial print publication (with the idea that the author
would sell rights to print to just one publisher while prohibiting
other publishers from printing it).

I'm afraid that if this compromise is approved, that subsequent steps
will be taken to weaken the segregation part of it.  One such step is
to merely mark docs as free or non-free, etc.  Another would be to use
symbolic links so that they appear segregated in one directory tree
but unsegregated in another.  The result is that we wind up with
having made our requirements for new docs less free than it is now with
little (or no) benefit from "segregation".
> If the non-free documents are segregated, put in a separate list, then
> the GNU Project can refer to the list of free documents and not refer
> to the list of non-free ones.  So the LDP and the GNU Project will be
> able to cooperate much more effectively.

I believe that we need to have a file which shows the type of license
for each doc.  I once started on this project and hope to someday
finish it.  There's a lot of work to do since it includes contacting
authors that have used ambiguous licenses, etc.  If GNU wants a list
of our "GNU-free" docs then we should supply it (after we determine
which ones are "GNU-free" so they can link to these docs (mine
excluded unless I change my license).

In another post I'll discuss the issues of allowing authors to restrict
modification and prohibit commercial printing.

			David Lawyer

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