David Kastrup wrote:
> b) why it would be technically impossible for you to change the XEmacs
> manual licence to the GFDL: it does not seem like you have handed out
> any written assurances that the licence is never going to change.
I think because contributing a piece of work implicitly means that you
agree to distribute it under the _current_ license. So, to relicense
a piece of contributed work, you need an agreement from the author,
either got in advance (like FSF copyright assignment includes) or got
right before the license change. Since XEmacs has many contributors
who hold their copyright, this means that license switch would require
collecting agreements from all of them, which might be practically
That said, I agree with you that this is mostly an XEmacs problem,
largely caused by their policy of not collecting copyright assignments.
The situation is not nice, but I don't see why FSF should go against
its decision and its policies. As Robert Chassell said (or meant),
FSF cannot ask other to use GFDL if it doesn't use it itself. After
all, XEmacs isn't fully cooperative either, since FSF won't merge in
non-assigned code. Yes, this is not a legal problem, but a matter of
FSF policy, but still...