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Re: MH-E manual update

From: Bill Wohler
Subject: Re: MH-E manual update
Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2005 16:25:46 -0800

Richard M. Stallman <address@hidden> wrote:

>     Uh-oh...  If those chapters started as part of O'Reilly's book, are
>     you sure they can be released under GFDL?
> The only relevant question is who has the copyright
> and what the copyright holder will permit.
> Chances are I already discussed this with Bill Wohler and
> don't remember, but if not, I'll do so when necessary.

The chapters of the O'Reilly book were written with an agreement that
they would carry the GPL and appear in Emacs with the FSF as copyright
holder. If you look in the Emacs source, you'll see that is already the
case. All of the MH-E contributors have signed papers with the FSF. No
problem there.

The problem is with the licensing.

Unfortunately, the manual (in the Emacs repository) was later switched
to the GFDL by the Emacs maintainers and this has caused major problems.
The biggest is that the two licenses are incompatible which is a problem
because the docstrings in the code are cut and pasted into the manual
and vice-versa. Another problem is that the manual is not only found in
Emacs. It appears in Debian (which has deemed that the GFDL is too
restrictive for them) and in the online MH book
(http://www.ics.uci.edu/~mh/book/) which carries the GPL.

One solution was to relicense the manual under the GPL, but I don't
think is is acceptable to Richard.

Another solution was to rewrite the GFDL so that it was compatible with
the GPL and acceptable by Debian, but I don't think that has been done

Failing those two solutions, one suggestion that was proposed by
Dave Turner <address@hidden> was to use a dual-license scheme and
license the manual under both the GPL and GFDL.

Would that be acceptable to all parties?

Bill Wohler <address@hidden>  http://www.newt.com/wohler/  GnuPG ID:610BD9AD
Maintainer of comp.mail.mh FAQ and MH-E. Vote Libertarian!
If you're passed on the right, you're in the wrong lane.

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