Re: What's the plan for the user guide?

On Tue, 2006-02-07 at 14:43 +0200, Alexander Shopov wrote:
> I am very strongly opposed to changing the license of Gnome Documentation.
> I have very little compassion to the Debian hypocrites that had to think 
> of a stupid and erroneous reason to be against GFDL.
> If a part of Debian developers had to think of a reason to be teenagely 
> socially-destructive - that is their problem and theirs alone.
> It is an outrage and utter stupidity to rate GFDL manuals the same as 
> the non-free programs Debian ships (in the non-free section, and I do 
> not accept the pretense that the non-free section is not a part of Debian).
> If we agree that this reason to change the licenses is moot, all the 
> rest reasons mentioned here - 
> are of very dubious 
> standing. I am opposed to changing the license.
> The problem that some Debian developers have - that they consider 
> repackaging the documentation an additional burden - should be solved by 
>   them as it was self-inflicted and *not* by blackmailing other projects 
> to change the free license of their documentation.

I am neither a Debian developer nor a Debian user.  Although
I often try out various distributions, just to see how Gnome
looks across the board, Fedora (and previously, Red Hat) has
been my primary distribution for a *long* time.

I've been considering a change of license since before Debian
first raised their FDL concerns, and I've been strongly in
favor of a change since before Debian's recent ultimatum.

Debian's primary objections are the quirky language around
the DRM and transparent copy stuff, as well as the usage of
invariant sections.  The quirky language issues can be solved
by an explicit statement of intent from the copyright holders.
As for invariant sections, we don't allow them in Gnome, and
if anybody puts an invariant section into a document under
GDP control, I will revert the change in CVS.

My issues with the FDL are more with its requirements with
respect to revision history and such.  The FDL is written
for a world of infrequently-released manuals, often with
only a few long-term authors, and very often put onto dead
trees.  We make official stable releases every month or so,
counting all the point releases.  We have a high turnover
of documentation contributors.

These concerns aren't new.  In a previous email, I gave
a link to a similar critique from way back in 2000.

Furthermore, with the long-term goal of having pluggable
help files, it won't even be immediately clear where one
document ends and another begins.  Using the FDL, we'll
have to start maintaining revision history on a per-topic
basis, and Yelp will have to provide all sorts of mumbo
jumbo to allow documents to be compliant.

What we need is a simple copyleft license that does not
impose undue restrictions on modification.  Basically,
anything beyond maintaining visible contributor credits
is just too much.  It would also be nice to have built-in
provisions for allowing reuse of code samples in contexts
outside the documentation.

Also, I know it's become popular lately on Planet Gnome
and desktop-devel-list to be hostile and accusational,
and to call things stupid and call people names.  But I
will not have it on my list.


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