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Re: OK to distribute autoconf.texi under the GPL too?

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: OK to distribute autoconf.texi under the GPL too?
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 01:48:18 -0800
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) Emacs/21.3 (gnu/linux)

Akim Demaille <address@hidden> writes:

> Underpinning this is the idea that long examples should be GPL'd, as
> opposed as "are de facto" as of today.  Why should they?

Well, let's be concrete about this and take one example from

   $(srcdir)/configure: aclocal.m4
           cd $(srcdir) && autoconf

   # autoheader might not change, so touch a stamp file.
   $(srcdir)/ aclocal.m4
           cd $(srcdir) && autoheader
           echo timestamp > $(srcdir)/

   config.h: stamp-h
   stamp-h: config.status

   Makefile: config.status

   config.status: configure
           ./config.status --recheck

This is long enough to be copyrightable.  Currently this text is
redistributable only under the terms of the GNU FDL, which doesn't
allow you to cut-n-paste it into your program.  I'm trying to say that
it's OK to cut-n-paste this into GPLed software.

I don't think anybody would dispute this.  I'm not so sure that there
would be wide consensus that it's OK to copy examples like this into
non-free software.  I suspect that some GNU developers would disagree
with that.

Right now I'm trying to address the Debian concerns.  Making the
examples GPL is enough to do that.  We can worry about more-liberal
terms later; the Debian folks won't care one way or another if we do.
They may care about other things, though, and I'd rather address those
concerns first.

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