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Re: [directory-discuss] s/w that requires a middleman to liberate it --

From: Svetlana Tkachenko
Subject: Re: [directory-discuss] s/w that requires a middleman to liberate it -- is it free?
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2017 16:10:50 +1100

There is a distinction between "this documentation is free" and "there is a freedom-respecting way to get it", so I am going to give an example.

We have a freedom to have clean hands. Were we required to make our hands dirty in order to obtain a manuscript, it would be bad. However, the obtained manuscript would possibly be clean inside, and you would be able to give it to your friend without making their hands dirty. This cleanness of hands and cleanness of manuscript are distinct concepts. Their subject -- what the freedom applies to -- is different.

Likewise, freedom of the documentation hosting website and freedom of the documentation itself are different concepts and must not be mixed or confused. Once you have overcome the obstacle of non-free website (for example, by asking me to host a copy), the obtained documentation is free. While biting the webmaster for not distributing it appropriately, we need to be grateful to the documentation author for fact that it is free and we need to recognise it.

Svetlana Tkachenko
Member of the Free Software Foundation

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