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[Help-gsl] Re: Debian and the GFDL

From: Rodney Sparapani
Subject: [Help-gsl] Re: Debian and the GFDL
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 12:00:23 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20080505)

Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso wrote:
This is all a little silly, but as you may be aware, Debian considers
the GFDL to be non-free.[1]

The GSL is currently packaged for Debian, and the docs are under the
GFDL with some invariant sections. Debian considers those invariant
sections to be nonfree. The current Debian maintainer doesn't want to
go through the hassle of splitting the GSL distribution into a free
and a non-free part and moving all of the docs to non-free. I tend to
agree with him.

That being said, is it in any way conceivable that the GSL doc could
be relicensed? It would suffice for Debian to not mark any section as
invariant. I think overall it would be nice to put all of the GSL,
including the documentation, under the GPL, but I am aware that some
people disagree that documentation is software too.

I am asking because it would be easier for us to simply leave all of
the GSL in main instead of having to go through the hassle, both for
the Debian maintainers and for our users, of moving parts of it to

By the way, I am asking this not because I particularly agree that the
GFDL is such a non-free license, but because the rest of Debian does,
and as a practical matter, it would just be easier for us if it were

- Jordi G. H.


Well, I think Debian's stance is a little silly.  And, frankly, a
Debian package for GSL is a little silly too.  For some packages,
like XEmacs, it makes sense to have a Debian (what the heck do the
call them, debs?).  XEmacs can be complex to compile and it has alot
of requirements.  But, GSL's requirements are minimal.  Mostly, it
is having a working compiler.  And, you need the compiler anyways
to actually use GSL for the most part, right?  Therefore, it seems
like a waste of time to support Debian, especially, if they require
some overhead on the part of GSL to support their silly policy.

$0.02, take it or leave it


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