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[Help-gsl] Re: Debian and the GFDL

From: Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso
Subject: [Help-gsl] Re: Debian and the GFDL
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 23:11:32 -0500

2008/8/25 Rodney Sparapani <address@hidden>:
> Well, I think Debian's stance is a little silly.

I agree with you that Debian is a bit silly on this issue, but then
again, so is the FSF or whoever is supporting the GFDL, since
invariant sections are a bit worse than the advertising clause in the
original BSD license and pose the same practical problems, plus it's
GPL-incompatible, and lots of other issues arise due to the GFDL (e.g.
it's impossible to move GFDLed software into free software because of
the invariant sections; they're not even removable, and making an
Emacs reference card from the Emacs manual is a copyright violation in
most countries where Fair Use doesn't exist within the local copyright

Debian is still the largest binary distribution of GNU/Linux and their
opinion carries some weight. Consider all the Debian-derived
distributions, for example.

> And, frankly, a Debian package for GSL is a little silly too.

What's more environmentally silly, in a very real sense, is to waste
unnecessary CPU cycles compiling software that one central server can
compile instead for all the users. That, plus having the convenience
of a package manager centrally tracking the software and uninstalling
it cleanly when desired (and no, "make uninstall" is not a convenient
substitute, maybe checkinstall, but still not as convenient as apt).

> $0.02, take it or leave it

No offense, but I'll actually leave it, since all that matters is the
opinion of the copyright holders. As a practical matter for Debian
users, regardless all the opinions and what the Debian votes say, the
best thing that could happen is if the GSL docs would not mark any
section as invariant.

- Jordi G. H.

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