Permission to use portions of the recent GNU Emacs Manual
dak at gnu.org
Tue Dec 14 17:09:03 EST 2004
"Robert J. Chassell" <bob at rattlesnake.com> writes:
> ... My issue is not with the GFDL per se. My issue is that it is
> not GPL-compatible, yet we use it for something that forms an
> integrated and tightly coupled part of Emacs and evolves with it.
> And that defeats the "Public" in GPL since it requires the copyright
> holder for normal maintenance work of derived versions.
> I do not understand you. First, the GFDL is not for code. Second,
> anyone can change the body of a GFDL's work.
DOC strings and manual entries are material that are frequently copied
between those differently licenced items. Customization entries link
into the manual, and manual entries contain code snippets doing
customization. Code examples in the manual make obvious candidates
for copying into GPLed code for Emacs.
And so on.
> This means that you can modify code under the GNU GPL and then
> document your modification. And you may distribute the result,
> attempting to charge if you wish for both code and documentation.
> Or, of course, you may give away both. You have the freedom.
I am talking about working with existent code and manual entries. Of
course, what you write yourself, you are free to licence as needed for
the case in question.
> The GFDL is different. It does not create a ban, but puts up a
> barrier (that is what the front and back cover text requirement is
> about). The goal is that the barrier be somewhat high, but not too
The barrier prohibits moving GPLed material into the manual unless you
are the copyright holder, and moving material out of the manual into
> Please explain further how GFDL actions defeat the "Public" in GPL,
> especially since invariant sections have existed in the licenses for
> past documentation.
We already have established that the previous licence for the Emacs
Lisp manual had the same basic problems. I am not talking about
returning to the old licence now (even though this would save the
XEmacs developers headaches), but whether it is a good idea to licence
Emacs with the integral Texinfo manuals under two incompatible
licences. This has been the case even before we switched to the GFDL
as far as I can see. But that does not mean that it was a good idea
at this time, and in the mean time, the Emacs Lisp manual has become
quite closer integrated with Emacs.
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum
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