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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] GFDL with Invariant Sections or other unmodifi

From: Bryan Baldwin
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] GFDL with Invariant Sections or other unmodifiable parts. Was: Ubuntu malware: what to do?
Date: Sun, 06 Jan 2013 12:15:05 +1300
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:17.0) Gecko/17.0 Thunderbird/17.0

On 01/06/13 09:21, Michael Dorrington wrote:
Part of the problem is that the FSF puts 'nice' content1 in unmodifiable sections of their manuals. What if someone wrote a manual for their software which had content in an unmodifiable section that you found particularly 'un-nice' but you found the program useful and wanted to distribute the manuals to people at a stall. How would you feel about not even being able to remove the 'un-nice' section? 

The text that FSF puts into its unmodifiable sections is not 'nice' for everyone. The reason those messages are in an invariant section is exactly because they are 'un-nice' to those that would like to usurp free software and use it to take away the users freedoms.

Invariant sections could serve to impede the propagation of the work that includes them. In the case of the FSF's invariant section we need not worry, because the people to whom those messages are 'un-nice' would probably not to help propagate free software with the freedoms intact in the first place.

Where something distasteful to the degree that it is offensive to a larger subset of the population, the propagation of such a work would be even more greatly impeded. It is contrary to the interests of an author to do such a thing. In the unlikely example that it happens, it is more likely that a competing work will replace the offensive one.

In the case of non-FSF definitions of "free", it is more important to look at the reasons that people promote criticism of FSF invariant clauses. At best they are poorly thought out claims that any authored work == software. At worst it is a weak facade to cover up the critic's desire to divorce the idea of freedom from the software, and replace it "openness" or something equally meaningless and contemptible.


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