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Re: I wrote a C tutorial

From: Jonathan Bartlett
Subject: Re: I wrote a C tutorial
Date: Mon, 02 May 2005 10:29:50 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.8 (X11/20040913)

> I would prefer to not do that.

Then don't use GNU material.

> Descriptions and prototypes of these functions
>      have been taken from info libc ;
>    Descriptions have been (heavily) edited,
>      Prototypes have been included nearly unaltered.

If you don't want to use the GNU license, I suggest the following:

 * delete the chapter
 * copy the prototypes
* describe it entirely in your own words, using the libc manual for reference only, not for wording

> It requires me to put my manual under your license,
>          which license, in my opinion,
>          is either a covert way of phrasing a proprietary licence,
>          or does not represent intentions of it's author(s) ;

The issue with proprietary licenses is that they REMOVE rights while the GFDL and GPL GRANT additional rights.

> Specifically: clause that says that
>          it can be distributed under any later version of
>            a license with same name if that is published by FSF.
>        In effect, this transfers copyright of my manual to FSF,

Incorrect. You still remain copyright, and can re-license the part of the material that is your own under any license you wish.

>          (which is not a democratic organization,
>            nor does it de facto represent large majority of users),
>          instead of, as i would like, to all members of public.

That would be a bad idea. Why on earth should the FSF be a democratic organization?

>          (Is 'obligation to give FSF carte blanche'
>            your interpretation of 'free licence' ?)
>        Why would anybody ever want to include a clause like that ?

Future compatibility.

 ?  I also think there are some aspects of this matter where
      obeying letter of GFDL goes against principles of free documentation
        as expressed by FSF,
      for example, i can create that chapter in another way :
        grep through my own programs, to see which functions are used often,
        and make an educated guess as to their arguments and returnvalue ;

This is incorrect. INFORMATION cannot be copyrighted. If you read through the libc documentation, the information you grasp from there is not copyrighted. The presentation of the information is. To the extent that there is only one way of communicating certain information (for example, C interface definitions), copyright does not apply.

You are certainly free to learn from the libc manuals and then retell the same information in your own way. What is not permitted is verbatim copying of GNU's creative work.

 >  It seems to me that documentation of libc itself violates GFDL.
    Specifically, in license it reads :
      A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy,
      represented in a format whose specification is available to the
      general public, whose contents can be viewed and edited directly
      and straightforwardly ...
    In case of libc,
      if what i got with Debian is not a transparent copy,

If that were the case, then it is Debian, not the libc manual, which is in error. But I doubt this was the case. Look in the source files for Debian -- you will likely find a Texinfo document there. Texinfo is (a) editable, (b) viewable, (c) machine-readable, and (d) the specification is available online.

Learn to program using Linux assembly language

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