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The LDP and Debian

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the documentation-always-a-weak-spot dept.

Debian 279

Guylhem writes: "The former LDP license was the first license used for our documentation. While we are now recommending the GNU FDL and the OPL 1 without options A or B, many documents are still licensed under the LDPL. David Merril, our Collection Coordinator, noticed that the LDPL is "not free" according to the Debian Free Software Guidelines. We have to get in touch with the authors as soon as possible or 2/3 of the LDP document collection will be removed from the base Debian distribution because the code freeze is happening in 2 days. Maybe some of the LDP unreachable authors are reading slashdot and could take 1 minute to submit an updated document licensed under the FDL or OPL v1 -A -B ? Another solution is to find volunteers to rewrite from scratch the concerned documents."

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279 comments

first fag (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665635)

first fag

FT (-1)

Dead Fart Warrior (525970) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665636)

First TOAST [drtoast.com]

DFW is Baaaack!

am I the only one (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665638)

who is *so tired* of hearing about how some free license is sublty not free enough for somebody else's purposes? This self-important bullshit ought to stop: It's not a big deal, get back to hacking code.

Re:am I the only one (1)

Ledge (24267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665692)

here here, agreed

Re:am I the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665707)

amen.

"RTFM!"..."I'd like to but I'm running Debian..." (2, Interesting)

SexPig (464304) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665714)

I wholeheartedly agree. I'm quite pleased with my Debian distribution but I'm also tired of the RMS-like stubborness in regards to licensing and such. If this stuff continues I may move off to a different distribution (my friend says Slackware is shipping with 2.4 kernels!....hehehe).

While I'm not overly concerned about the docs not being on the medium, perhaps there are those who are installing at a single-computer home without access to the internet. This "conform to our license or else get booted from the dist" is extreme.

(OT) Slack with 2.4.x (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665915)

Ugh... that would be Slackware 8... Perosnally, I'm not a big fan of the thing, for the amazing distro that they normally put out Slackware 8.0 is a disappointment. I have trouble getting it to install, when it does install it freezes my machine, and so on. MY opinion is to grab 7.1, install it, and then replace the packages you need newer versions of with the ones from Slack 8.0.

Re:am I the only one (5, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665721)

I find it interesting that this would be modded up.

"This self-important bullshit ought to stop"

You are making an assumption about the purpose of Debian. You assume that it's about providing you with a new release. It is not. Debian as a project is about producing a free software operating system. If 1/2 of that definition is not met by 2/3 of the documentation, then it should be of major concern (to at least 1/3 of the team ;)

It's not a big deal, get back to hacking code

And what code do you hack? I'm getting rather tired of self-important Slashdot posters who feel that these slackers should go back in the kitchen and bake some pie. We, the coders of various open source and/or free software applications write the code for our own reasons. If you don't like the code or don't feel that it's up to your standards/schedules, then don't use it. We'll be just as happy either way.

I would have a lot more sympathy for your comments if you spent any time acknowledging that these folks have provided you with an awful lot of benefit because they're fanatics who will waste hours/days/years of their lives for the good of the free software cause.

you are both morons. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665736)

slashdot ranter: be polite, BE POLITE

stupid debian moron: dont ignore your users you fucking moron

MAKE A MOTHERFUCKING COMPROMISE, AND SHUT THE FUCK UP

Re:am I the only one (5, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665798)

You are making an assumption about the purpose of Debian. You assume that it's about providing you with a new release. It is not. Debian as a project is about producing a free software operating system. If 1/2 of that definition is not met by 2/3 of the documentation, then it should be of major concern (to at least 1/3 of the team ;)
OK, I can buy that. Given that statement, however, is waiting until two days before a frozen release date (but wait: I thought the purpose was not to provide new releases) the best time to start auditing for free-ness of the documentation?

sPh

Re:am I the only one (1)

lineymo (539729) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665846)

what makes you think they started the audit now. Maybe they started a long time ago and haven't been able to get a hold of the authors

thank you (5, Interesting)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665895)

And what code do you hack? I'm getting rather tired of self-important Slashdot posters who feel that these slackers should go back in the kitchen and bake some pie. We, the coders of various open source and/or free software applications write the code for our own reasons. If you don't like the code or don't feel that it's up to your standards/schedules, then don't use it. We'll be just as happy either way.

Thank you.

As one who uses debian (testing + some unstable packages compiled from source) at both work and home extensively I, for one, appreciate all that the debian developers do, and the fact that they are so precise (some might say pedantic) about software and documentation licenses. In this way I, as a system administrator, have a very easy time keeping my employer compliant to any and all licenses. Come audit time, that is a very nice feeling indeed.

So yes, we who work in the real world with Free Software, Open Source, and commercial products in fact benefit very directly and very immediately from such vigilence, and I for one appreciate it greatly.

Yes, catching this faux pas earlier in the release cycle would have been nice, but for whatever reason that did not happen. Oh well. So the packages move from main to non-free. They're still available if they're really needed, but for those of us in commercial environments using GNU/Linux for something other than hobbiest tinkering such distinctions are well founded and important, and having that explicit division between free (as in freedom) and non-free (as in restricted in some significant fashion) is immensly helpful, even critical.

Re:am I the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665948)

<snip>

before you take this guy toooo seriously....click his home page link

Re:am I the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665950)

We, the coders of various open source and/or free software applications write the code for our own reasons. If you don't like the code or don't feel that it's up to your standards/schedules, then don't use it. We'll be just as happy either way.

Please note that Aaron has no standing to speak for myself or 'the coders of various open source/free software applications' in general.

I, also, do not acknowledge that the contributors to Debian have provided me with an awful lot of benefit. The fanatics of Debian are welcome to 'waste' as much time as they would like for the 'good of the free software cause' but don't expect a great deal of empathy from those of us who use alternative systems.

Easy way or hard way? (1)

Reliant-1864 (530256) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665646)

by rewritting, do you mean cutting and pasting, or just rewritting it so it says the same things, only slightly differently?

Re:Easy way or hard way? (2, Insightful)

talesout (179672) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665888)

My guess would be they actually mean clean room rewriting. As in, pretend the existing docs don't exist at all, preferably by finding some simpleton that hasn't read them yet, and then write new docs from scratch.

This is the reason that so many open source style projects get so bungled up. I have a great appreciation for Debian. It was my introduction to Linux, and I'll always keep one or two Debian systems around me. But they are always so far behind. And things like this "rewrite" are one of the primary reasons why.

Why go an re-invent the wheel everytime someone puts a different type of nut on it from what you like? Work with the people to get it the way you want it. Don't go throwing a temper tantrum, tossing away a perfectly good bit of software/documentation/whatever and screaming, "You no good, me do better!" Not only is it childish, it's also extremely narrow minded and wasteful of resources.

As other posters are pointing out, it's not like this couldn't have been dealt with sooner than two days before the code freeze. This is something that should have been dealt with a long time ago if it needed to be dealt with. Instead it comes across like a last minute bid for attention. "HEY EVERYONE! I'M GOING TO THROW A USELESS FIT ABOUT SOMETHING STUPID! Oh, and by the way, we've got this code freeze coming up..."

Sorry, this just seems a little ridiculous to me.

Go ahead, remove all the doc (0, Troll)

xant (99438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665648)

So, 2 days before a freeze, you notice this problem, and you're just going to remove all the doc rather than release it anyway? If you were a company, I'd be selling stock.

Re:Go ahead, remove all the doc (5, Insightful)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665685)

They aren't a company. They believe in Free Software specific to certain licenses, it's an ideal more than a product. They'd be hypocritical if they didn't do this.

Re:Go ahead, remove all the doc (1, Flamebait)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665823)

No, the point is that since they aren't a company there is no reason for them to release before they are ready. Just push back the release to get the licensing issues sorted out. They are being hypocritical by releasing the product anyway.

Re:Go ahead, remove all the doc (2)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665691)

they are a non-profit organization so they do not have to worry about stuff of that nature. if they were a company they would have failed a long time ago because of their inflexable Ethos which is a good thing for what they are.

Re:Go ahead, remove all the doc (3, Insightful)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665698)

That is why Debian is not a company and that is also why they are so cool. BTW this does not mean that the docs will not be there it just means that you will have to add non-free to your sources list. I know of very few people who don't have non-free in their sources list anyway and so it would not look like a change to a person installing or using Debian. It would all still be there just not in main anymore.

Break out the thumbscrews. (-1, Flamebait)

terrynt (304377) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665920)

The point of this notice is to pressure document authors into switching licenses, without giving them time consider:
1. Should I switch licenses?
2. Which "free" license should I switch to?

Cutting off you nose to spite your face (5, Insightful)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665650)

Would they really use a code freeze as an excuse for putting out a release with the majority of it's documentation removed?

Surely not. I would think the intelligent thing to do would be to set a seperate freeze date for the documentation.

Flamebait? WTF? (1, Offtopic)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665951)

I really have nothing else to day. The moderators are smoking crack lately.

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? (0)

sucko (257144) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665654)

While you guys argue over the meaning of the word "Free" Microsoft continues to make better and better software.


Perhaps you guys are missing the point?

Question about licenses... (2)

toupsie (88295) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665656)

Do a majority of open source software users actually pay attention to the licenses of the software packages they utilize? I use a lot of GPL applications yet I have never really sat down an actually read the entire GPL. However, I do understand that if I do violate the GPL, I have to put up with Richard Stallman breathing down my neck. Not appealing idea! Am I alone in a crowd? Does everyone read the software license?

Re:Question about licenses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665670)

You've got a point.
I think that most people could care less about the licence as long as it does what they want.

Re:Question about licenses... (3, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665679)

As far as I understand, just using the application is no problem, and you really don't need to be concerned with the license other than knowing it exists. You DO need to pay close attention to the license if you are planning on modifying/releasing any of the source code for the GPL applications.

Re:Question about licenses... (1)

IdiotBoy (5883) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665687)

As a user, there is no real reason to be concerned about the license under which you receive a particular software package, assuming you know the salient points of the requirements (payment, installation and usage restrictions.) It becomes an issue if you want to distribute that software to another party.

Debian is doing a distribution, so they care.

Yes (2, Offtopic)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665694)

I do. Some of the licenses for proprietary software are laughworthy. The MS Word license used to, and maybe still does, contain a line that went something like "This software is not to be used for operation of nuclear power plants".

Re:Yes (2, Interesting)

Ledge (24267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665727)

Thats phrase is pretty much boilerplate for non-mission critical commercial software I think. the StarOffice license contains the same line. I think it also makes reference to usage in lifesaving devices and medical equipment as well.

Re:Question about licenses... (1)

MCZapf (218870) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665752)

I'll bet most users (open-source or otherwise) don't pay attention to any of the licenses for their software. I know people who will pirate MS Word or Windows XP if it suits them, or use GPL-licensed Linux and utilities, or BSD-licensed whatever, etc. They haven't read anything. If they can get their hands on the software, that's enough for them.

I myself have skimmed the GPL, and some of other propriatary licenses. (I've read a lot of arguments on Slashdot too.) I have the general idea of them all, I try to abide by them, and that's about it.

Re:Question about licenses... (2, Informative)

zulux (112259) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665756)

Do a majority of open source software users actually pay attention to the licenses of the software packages they utilize?

You don't need to read the GPL, or even agree to it, if you are just using GPL software, it's only when you copy software do you need a licence from the original copyright owner.

From the GPL:
5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.

Re:Question about licenses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665914)

How can this be a troll. Not being a GPL buff, I actually learned something interesting from the parent post.

The answers: No and No. (1)

labradore (26729) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665780)

Both answers are made up but since I'm the one making them up, I am quite sure they are correct.

Do you use Debian? There are many good reasons to use Debian and one of them is that if you use it you know you won't be using non-free software (if you so choose). This may not be important to you but I suspect that to many Debian users it is. In fact, it was the primary reason that Debian was created.

Someone else said that if Debian was a company and was doing this sort of culling of non-free documentation right before a distribution freeze then he would be selling stock. The person is obviously an example of the sort of person who does not care whatsoever about Free software, but more probably about free rides. Debian is not a company. It never will be. It never should be. Thank God. It exists to do exactly this sort of thing and I, for one, am supremely thankful.

Re:Question about licenses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665784)

If you are only *using* GPL software, and not distributing it, you cannot break the license.

If you intend to distribute GPL software, then you should read the license.

Re:Question about licenses... (1, Troll)

hardburn (141468) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665794)

I've read all the most commonly used licenses under the Open Source Inititave (GPL, LGPL, Artistic, BSD, etc.), but I almost never read propreity licenses. Even the GPL's leagalees looks tame in comparison.



Oh, and I also check the terms of service for DNS providers, but almost never for other places.

You don't need to (2)

j7953 (457666) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665803)

With a free license, you don't need to read it. The point of a free software license is that all it does is remove certain copyright restrictions from you. So, if you just use the software, and don't redistribute or modify it, there is no need to read the license as the use is subject to normal copyright law.

In theory, you don't even have to agree to the license, i.e. you can decide to be subject to normal copyright restriction instead. The GPL explicitly offers you this possibility:

"You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License."

I think not having to worry about license issues if you just use the software is one of the biggest advantages of free software for non-developers. I also believe it is a good thing that Debian insists on 100% free software, because it makes sure that by just installing and using the software on as many computers as you like you will never violate any copyrights. I am however not so happy to see that Debian decides to enforce this policy two days before feature freeze...

No, RMS will not breathe down your neck (2)

renehollan (138013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665889)

Actually, you've only got a problem if you redistribute the code in question, modified or not, and do not comply with the GPL.

But, even in this case, the FSF (RMS himself probably wouldn't get involved), if it holds the copyright on the code, would most likely just ask you to comply.

The worst I've seen is explicit withdrawl of permission by the FSF (on FSF copyright code) to use the code until someone is assigned from within the offender's organization to receive GPL training from the FSF.

Finally, the FSF does not drag your name through the mud, as it were, if you make an honest mistake.

And yes, I speak with some degree of authority on the by RMS to a former employer's developers.

snipped response (2)

renehollan (138013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665908)

Sorry, that last sentence should have read:

And yes, I speak with some degree of authority on the subject, having arranged a lecture by RMS to a former employer's developers on the subject of GPL compliance.

Poll Questions, Please Answer! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665673)

What is on your favorite floppy disk ever?

What are you going to eat for supper?

Answers, by the way, mods $3 crack (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665697)

On my favorite floppy disk ever, I have a small collection of text files and images.

For dinner, I shall eat Helper. No hamburger for me. Helper.

Glory (3, Insightful)

JohnHegarty (453016) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665690)

"Another solution is to find volunteers to rewrite from scratch the concerned documents"

Nothing like the glory of writing the help files. Its the most visisble part of any program ... and easier to explain to your mother than kernel hacking.

Re:Glory (1)

TCaptain (115352) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665750)

"Another solution is to find volunteers to rewrite from scratch the concerned documents"
Nothing like the glory of writing the help files. Its the most visisble part of any program ... and easier to explain to your mother than kernel hacking.


Of course writing all of this in a couple of days is what makes the usual help file like a man page crystal clear and helpful to both the new user and guru alike!

It's just documentation (1, Troll)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665695)

What if I just use a sufficiently free app without reading the insufficiently free documentation? Am I still OK?

What makes LDP license non-Free (1)

lorax (2988) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665705)

I clicked on the links in the article, but I didn't find anything that said what part of the LDP made it non-free. The license seems pretty free to me.

Re:What makes LDP license non-Free (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665805)

i think it's because DFSGv3 demands that EVERYTHING in the package be modifiable and LDP can allow unmodifiable sections. I could be wrong here though, I'm almost as confused as you.

Caoilte

Universal IP license? (1)

tjansen (2845) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665706)

IMHO, in an ideal world, there should be a license for every kind of intellectual property. For source code, text, music, movies, ideas (=patents), everything. It's not very logical to make up different licenses because it gets you into trouble as soon as you want to combine media (write a game using open music, make a movie of an open book, distribute documentation with your software...).

Re:Universal IP license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665839)

It's called the DSL [dsl.org] . There are already free books with it too from what I gather, see the open book project [ibiblio.org] ...

Re:Universal IP license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665937)

how many books and docs are really "free" though? i mean isn't the LDP good enough? what do you people want! sheesh..

Re:Universal IP license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665853)

IMHO, in an ideal world, there should be a license for every kind of intellectual property. For source code, text, music, movies, ideas (=patents), everything. It's not very logical to make up different licenses because it gets you into trouble as soon as you want to combine media (write a game using open music, make a movie of an open book, distribute documentation with your software...).

Design Science License...

Well. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665711)

Documentation is not Software.. so why does it have to follow the free software guidelines?

Re:Well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665860)

What they need is Free Information Guidelines.
What about all the sounds and icons too?

Free Software, costly documentation?? (1)

Catiline (186878) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665957)

To answer your question very briefly, it does me no good to get free (speech) software when I get free (beer) documentation with it. In that situation, I can change the software but not the documentation- and who would want that??

How is it Non-Compliant? (2, Insightful)

Killeri (238792) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665715)

I'm probably missing something obvious but I see no conflict between the Debian policy and old LDP license. The license grants the right to freely distribute the original and none of the restrictions it has for derived works conflict with the Debian policy.

What am I missing?

It restricts derived works. (4, Interesting)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665738)

It requires derived works to be labeled as such, and credit to the original authors be given, and several other things along those lines.

Now.. those are all fair, and nice.. but are in conflict with the 'free software' guidelines.

I still maintian, though, Documentation is not Software... and to treat it by the same standards is wrong.

Re:It restricts derived works. (2, Insightful)

Ledge (24267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665767)

Does anyone else see any irony behind the fact that the GPL doesn't require derived works to credit the original authors, yet RMS wants GNU plastered all over everything that rubs shoulders with the license?

Re:It restricts derived works. (3)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665817)

Yes, I see the irony.. however.

RMS wants GNU plastered on everything that is part of the GNU project, not everything that uses the gpl. In fact, I believe you CAN'T call something 'GNU myproject' unless the rights are handed over to the FSF.

Re:It restricts derived works. (0)

blafasel (471018) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665939)

so why does he call for GNU/Linux, then?

Re:It restricts derived works. (1)

SexPig (464304) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665836)

Bravo...

GNU hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

Deven (13090) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665874)

Somehow I doubt RMS sees the irony. I wrote a short piece about this back on March 31, 1999: Why "GNU/Linux" is a Misnomer [ties.org] In the 2.5 years since then, the FSF still has not released a GNU distribution, relying instead on the Debian project to do what they won't.

Given that "The GNU Project" doesn't credit the X Window System anywhere in its name, RMS has no moral high ground to stand on when he demands that all Linux-based systems be referred to as "GNU/Linux" systems.

It's doubly ironic that the older BSD license was incompatible with the GPL specifically because of the so-called "advertising clause" that requires credit be given for the BSD-licensed software.

Isn't it funny how RMS feels it isn't necessary to credit BSD or X Windows, yet demands such credit for the GNU project? It's disingenuous hypocrisy, through and through. If someone makes a free software distribution, they should be able to call it anything they want, whether "GNU", "Linux", "BSD" or anything else is included in the name.

After all, wasn't this all supposed to be about freedom? I guess that doesn't include the freedom to choose the name...

Go ahead, WASTE your moderation points on me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665716)

You see, I enjoy using Linux on an encrypted floppy and connecting to Slashnet with a fake host and being instantly banned from #tron for having mirc, but it's funny because if you come in with the host @is.a.Hax0r people act like you have something to hide. really. What the hell?

The moderators smoke cheap $2.56 crack!!

So, when was the last time you OPEN SORES NATALIE PORTMAN GRITS HOT GRITS IN MY PANTS OH YES!

Why not post links to the other help? (1)

PDXRedcat (29992) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665722)

Remove the unupdated docs, but provide links to wherever they are kept currently. That way users get to read the help if they need it and it can be replaced later.

-p

Questions (2)

Flower (31351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665730)

  1. When did documentation become software?
  2. I just read the LDP. Seems fairly reasonable to me. Contains a lot of requests so a publisher can get up-to-date documents, make sure that it is known what has been modified in the document and contains a lgpl-like clause so other documentation in a published work doesn't fall under the LDP. Why isn't it "free" enough?
  3. Under the Appendicies, the only one I see a potential problem with is B. But that requires the author specifically state that the document cannot be modified without consent. Why not go after just these documents instead of this mad scramble?

Guess it's time to hunt down some links about this.

Re:Questions (5, Informative)

lupercalia (310569) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665938)

I can see where this is confusing. What has happened is that there have been several versions of the LDP License, and also a sample "boilerplate" license listed in our manifesto [linuxdoc.org] .

Some of them are Free, some are Non-Free.

We are doing our best to get as many documents licensed to suit Debian guidelines as we can. However, the LDP is not a Free project, and we do not require a Free license. We DO want to keep our documents in Debian as much as we possibly can, so I am asking the LDP authors to consider seriously a relicensing in order to do that. I'm not forcing anyone to do anything. Allegations to the contrary just show you didn't bother to read the announcement.

Now if I may be permitted a micro-rant...

I'm a volunteer just like the other LDP volunteers, and I give lots of my time trying to create and improve the documentation you all count on. I'm doing my best to deal appropriately with a difficult situation, and I'd appreciate receiving some support for that rather than endless flames and gripes over things I'm not even doing.

And Flower, that isn't directed at you. :-)

David Merrill
LDP Collection Coordinator

Why was this never noticed before? (2, Insightful)

bc90021 (43730) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665732)

Am I missing something? Or does this sound to anyone else like it would have been noticed before? (Especially among the Debian crowd?)

Also, this isn't something to stop the code freeze for? I thought code freezes were done to get everything in order for releasing the next version. Clearly, not everything is ready, so it would make sense to me not to freeze the code...
an updated version without documentation wouldn't be much of an updated version!

Debian sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665735)

I used it on my 486 laptop computer once and the Taliban told me no.
No computer. No Debian. The Living Diaper Princesses (that is what is LDP is, correct?) will never find what seems to be on my 486 laptop. You know, HENTAI and oh GOD NATALIE PORTMAN HOT GRITS LINUX OPEN SORES

Any good believer... (-1, Offtopic)

Krapangor (533950) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665741)

...would rather tore his eye out than let it make him commit a sin.

For further information please check out this [bible.org] .
Sorry, don't know the exact reference.

DLP with FOL OK? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665742)

So if I want to write a OPE with the DLP or FOL, under option 2a or 17f of the GRL, will the ODP tell me I'm SOL? I want to make sure that FOE and OAF are OAL, otherwise the project might be APO. Just making sure.

nit picking (2)

poemofatic (322501) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665746)

over documentation's License? Sheesh.

How 'bout just more documentation. Has the man page entry for logout been written yet?

Dude's birthday (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665751)

Don't forget, Saturday, you can come celebrate with us at the new American Airlines center, in Downtown, Dallas! Come support the school bond election! Be k-rad! You can meet some of your favorite Dallas area people, like County Commisioner John Wiley Price. Help support the school bond election. Thank you for your time.

By the way, it will be someone's birthday there. I don't know who. There will be 1,000 people there, at least. Someone must be celebrating a birthday.

Ludacris came to me in a dream, and he asked me why I was all up in his biz-NIS

I hate licensing.... (2, Interesting)

Cesaro (78578) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665759)

I know I'm being completely unreasonable, but wouldn't it be grand to stop dealing with so much legal mumbo-jumbo and lining the pockets of scores of lawyers who end up making bucks off of licensing disputes?

Is human and corporate morality so lacking that we REALLY need this stuff? I don't do much with licensing myself and if I start to I hope to god it isn't as bad as it seems. If someone is only asking for credit, and not giving them a bad name, is it really violated that often? I mean, I present my source code, and just say "Use it, if you change it or want to distribute it let me know." I think that should be more than sufficient. This licensing crap just seems like it is merely a leading indicator of our complete inability to regulate ourselves on a personal and ethical level.

Perhaps it's just me dreaming about a non-defunct human race, but step back for a second and take a moment to realize how pitiful this truly is.

Re:I hate licensing.... (4, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665952)

Yes, I hate licensing too. In fact, that's one of the reasons that I like Debian GNU/Linux. Those folks are fanatic about licensing issues so that I don't have to be. This LDP thing is actually a good example of this. There is no way that any of the LDP authors are going to come after Debian. Especially since Debian itself isn't breaking the rules set forth in the LDP. They are moving the documentation into non-free because they want to alert potential documentation developers that you can't change these documents and distribute the changes without changing the name of the document. That's a pretty tiny nit to pick, but to them it's important.

Which means that if I limit myself to the main part of the Debian distribution I can rest assured that I can happily change the source code to anything I see and still distribute those changes (I might be required to distribute source as well, but that's another story).

Run that by me again, please. (1)

A_Non_Moose (413034) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665765)

A code freeze on documentation?

How appropriate, seeing as most code has a documentation freeze.

RTFM, indeed. How about CTFM, first.

Cheers,

Moose.

If anyone ever says "you are missing the point", reply, "no I'm not, I see it several inches above your forehead".

.

Some Breaking Fucking News (-1, Offtopic)

Burritos (535298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665768)

The Fucking Taliban have fucking given up that last fucking shanty village crap KHANDAR or whatever fucking it is fucking called this is so fucking cool

Big Mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665772)

I think Debian is very strict on their categorization and they're very consistent too. They've never been shy to kick out projects they didn't find fitted their distribution (think about KDE for example). I think they should keep going that way.

But switching like that only 2 days in advance?!?!?!?! That's really retarded. As an author, if I received an email that basically boils down to: "Please help us, but you don't really have time to think or discuss, we don't have time", I'd just reply "f**k off".

Lather, Rinse, Repeat..... (1)

Jerrry (43027) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665774)

How much effort has been wasted rewriting stuff because someone didn't like the "license" on the original? Gnome comes immediately to mind, and I'm sure there are many other instances like this.

Imagine how much futher along open source software (oh, excuse me, free software) would be if there wasn't so much needless duplication of effort over something as stupid as license terms.

This alphabet soup of licenses (GPL, LGPL, BSDL, FDL, OPL v1 -A -B, LDP, etc.) is really getting out of hand. Do we want to be software developers and documentation writers, or do we want to be amateur lawyers?

Re:Lather, Rinse, Repeat..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665870)

OPL v1 -A -B ???????

What the fuck is THAT nonsense? How do you pronounce that? Who's brilliant idea was this name? Is it stable?

NR

"Non-Free" As In "Shut Up" (1, Insightful)

po8 (187055) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665808)

Ooh, it's sure easy to see how the LDP license would destroy the Free Software community if it were allowed to persist. Good thing that those alert folks at Debian are on the case: I'd hate to think they just had their heads in the usual location. I'm sure there will be no problem locating the authors of two-thirds of the Linux documentation and persuading them to fiddle with licensing issues.

And a good thing, too, because it would be horrific if everyone just started automatically sticking the "Non-Free" pool into their sources.list. After all, it isn't like most people run Debian just because they want a Free As In Beer distro which is easy to upgrade!

Hats off to the Deb folks! I'm sure glad I recently donated cash to their cause!

Doc writers stand firm! Don't get bullied. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665813)

It seems that the licenses these fellows distributed their (contributed) documentation as has been acceptable for all this time with other distributions (Debian included). To sit there and strong-arm them to change their licenses (and strong-arming it is!) is a bit shady.

I claim that this is strong-arming because of the short time frame given to make a choice after which they cannot neccessarily revert from in an easy way (maybe they can?). "You have to days to change your license or get excluded from the final Debian distribution" is what I read above. If RedHat pulled this shit there'd be people having a hissy-fit!

As an author (4, Informative)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665816)

As an author of several documents, with several more in the pipeline, I find myself remarkably unmoved by this self-inflicted crisis even though I use Debian myself.

The problem is that Debian is quickly becoming just as bad as Microsoft in terms of insisting that everyone play the games by their rules, freezing out everyone else. Wanting to keep the core distribution "pure" is one thing, but the zealots are clearly driving out the pragmatists. I'm getting *real* tired of reinventing tools to get around artifical constraints, and if it weren't for apt I would have switched distros long ago.

Now they suddenly announce that since 2/3 of LDP does not satisfy their definition of "free," they're going to drop them. Not move them into "non-free," drop them outright. The only way to avoid this is for authors to drop everything else in their life to make these changes.

And, rubbing salt in this wound, this question was clearly written by one of the persons responsible for dropping these documents. Yet he doesn't feel the need to actually provide a link to a list of the documents in question. We're clearly supposed to waste even more time trying to track down that list on the Debian site because this guy can't be bothered to provide the link in his message.

The message is clear: the volunteer authors are stupid (choosing the 'wrong' license, even though it was the best available at the time, and then not rushing to change it immediately once the Debian gods spoke from on high), and we don't even deserve the courtesy of having a list prepared that we can quickly check.

I'm real motivated to check my licenses now. Let me pencil it in - 2PM, December 5, 2184. Unless it's really urgent, in which case I'll just add a quick clause prohibiting its distribution within a Debian package and force this into a moot issue.

Re:As an author (1)

AYEq (48185) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665858)

I don't think that they are being dropped:

"In the course of a conversation with Colin Watson, the Debian LDP maintainer, I became aware of the licensing problem and let Colin know that Debian was in violation of their own Guidelines, and they are now in the process of splitting the LDP up into two separate collections, one composed of Free documents, and the other Non-Free."
--http://linuxdoc.org/ldpwn/ldpwn-2001-12-04.htm l

So please people, Debian does give you a choice!(non-free) They just want to give the users the convience of _KNOWING_ that the main system is completely _FREE_.

Re:As an author (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665864)

No shit, the hypocrisy involved in the Debian project is ridiculous. Removing the GIF code from Gimp because it's not free? Next you're gonna tell me they won't allow XMMS (licensed under the GPL) in the free section because it can play MP3s, a non-free and patented file format.

Doing whatever you like is fine, if you like risks (2)

Christopher B. Brown (1267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665953)

GIF generating code is pretty dangerous, since the nice folks at Unisys have a PATENT on the algorithm, and have been doing some pursuing of people for licence fees.

I'd say that omitting GIF code from GIMP is a rather important thing if you're not interested in having Unisys' lawyers call you to ask you to fill a briefcase with money for them.

If Debian redistributes stuff that they haven't got permission to redistribute, then that is a big deal.

The situation with the LDP seems rather silly; if people sent documents to the LDP, it seems rather nonsensical that those documents could possibly not be redistributable. Nonetheless, if there's a legitimate concern, then it is entirely appropriate for the documents to be "downgraded in apparent status."

This is not a disaster; if a whack of docs fall out of Debian for a while, this is not likely to lead to goats falling from the sky and other such silliness.

The shrill reaction of "Oh, we'll have to get a bunch of documents rewritten by tomorrow!" is certainly silly...

Re:As an author (2, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665959)

GIF code (for encoding GIFs, not reading) is not free due to software patents [burnallgifs.org] . Further, GIF is in the process of being replaced by a free standard (PNG), which is also technilogicaly superior. For similar reasons, MP3 readers are perfectly safe because the MP3 patent only covers the encoding process.

Exactly how is this "hypocricy"? Debian says it's a project that upholds a certain set of Free Software guidelines, and then does so. They still allow non-free software, but it is seperated from the free stuff. It would be hypocritical to allow GIF encoding or LDP docuementation as a "special case". Now you may disagree with their unwavering stance on Free Software, but that is no basis for calling them hypocrits. Even so, I'm not sure that documentation should be held to the same standards as software.

(Personally, I started using Debian because of their stance with Free Software. I didn't even know what apt was until six months or so after I started using it.)

Re:As an author (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665961)

So, you would prefer for Debian to break the law and distribute the GIF compressor in GIMP?

Anyway, XMMS only *plays* mp3s, just like Moz only *decompresses* gifs. Since neither of these procesess is patented, XMMS and Moz can be in Free.

As another author and Debian lover... (2)

luge (4808) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665885)

A-fucking-men.

Re:As an author (5, Informative)

lupercalia (310569) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665893)

Sorry, you're incorrect. They are being moved into non-free, not being dropped.

David Merrill,
LDP Collection Coordinator

Re:As an author (2)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665899)

While this will in no way jeapardize (sp?) my use of Debian, I must say that I agree with many of your points. Moving the docs to non-free should be nearly trivial. This helps users the most. And because of what I've gotten out of Debian, I thought about helping to write the docs. But clicking on the links in the /. story, I saw no list of the docs in question. So, how am I to help?

Further, if I were the author of some old docs, how would I know if my docs were not in compliance?

Seems that there are some better ways to get through this tempest in a teapot.

Re:As an author (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665927)

Notice not only they didn't say what freedocumentation didn't meet their meaning of "free", but also they didn't say how it was in violation?

A good guess would be the fact that documentation can be listed as unmodifiable, although other people have noted that it may be that the clause requiring the original author to be creditted and the changes noted when modifying a document isn't required by the GPL.

I certainly hope it isn't that last one.

Re:As an author (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665943)

> I'm getting *real* tired of reinventing tools
> to get around artifical constraints, and if it
> weren't for apt I would have switched distros
> long ago.

FYI, Conectiva and Mandrake do have APT (with RPM).

The reason to use Debian is not APT anymore -- it
is QA (although I'm having problems myself at
work, because our tools are too old..)

I Hope I Don't Get Trolled For This (1)

alman (86957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665825)

But, why do we keep having to hear about this license isn't blessed so *everything* has to go. I understand Debian's & GNU's manifesto, but why are they mentioning it every time they speak in the community? We already know about it!
Red Hat doens't go around all the time saying that they like to make money to the community, to the shareholders maybe.
I get the same fuzzy feeling whenever I hear about OpenBSD. If it isn't a BSD license, trash it.

Just on a side note, is it because I don't understand the license thing fully that I can't get either Debian or OpenBSD to install?

Re:I Hope I Don't Get Trolled For This (2)

JatTDB (29747) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665900)

My favorite example of this craptacular bickering was at the Atlanta Linux Showcase in 2000. I saw a FSF dude *arguing* with a Debian dude over the whole Linux-vs-GNU/Linux thing. Well, not really arguing...the Debian dude was just sorta standing there...but the FSF guy would not stop. Here's a guy that works with one of the distributions that DOES bother to say GNU/Linux...and this FSF fuckwad is getting on his case about that very issue.

Needless to say, I lost a lot of respect for the FSF.

Re:I Hope I Don't Get Trolled For This (1)

pj7 (469369) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665956)

Oh come on!
Mod this up, it's pretty funny when you think about it.

hmmm (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665831)

maybe if the debian people spent more time making an installer that didn't suck and fixing their idiotic termcap files instead of hoohawing over licenses on HOWTOs, they'd have more mindshare...

This is why I won't use Debian (2)

Laplace (143876) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665832)

I tried, oh yes I did. I understand their position on freedom, but everything they do is so knee jerk and spasmatic they they hurt their position rather than help it. I imagine that the documents included in previous distributions were under the same questionable licenses? Why not deal with the issues in a thoughtful and controlled manner, rather than say "you have three days to correct this or we pull the plug?" Wow. Debian sounds friendly. Debian sounds understanding. Debian sounds like a distribution that I want to use.

Well good for the zealots. Good for the radicals. Good for the people that want to do the right thing. I'll just go on using my usable and friendly distributions, like SuSE.

Honestly, Debian has always held appeal for me. I just can't get beyond the chest tumping, the politics, and the general sense of rabid fanaticism that pervades the project.

One argument I've heard is that I can go get the projects and packages that I want and weren't included. But please, I'm tired of installing a distribution, then installing 10 or 20 new packages on top of that.

Enough rambling. I have important things to do now. Like drink. And moderate. But all in moderaton.

Re:This is why I won't use Debian (1)

AYEq (48185) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665945)

Please do not make it sound as if the freeze was some sort of ultimatium. The "woody" freeze has been planned for quite some time now and it is a shame that this was found so close to the freeze. (and believe me, the freeze cannot be delayed any more)



"Honestly, Debian has always held appeal for me. I just can't get beyond the chest tumping, the politics, and the general sense of rabid fanaticism that pervades the project."



"Rabid fanaticism", they are just shifting part of the package where it belongs if it isn't in agreement with the DFSG. If Debian were as rabid as avertised then there wouldn't even BE a non-free. I do agree with the politics comment though, but I think that "chest thumping"is just the price you pay for community development. (Problem with humans, not Debian)

Dear Michael, J0nK4tz, Taco, Homos, Kowboi Kneel (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665930)

You all suck eachother in some wierd caterpillar 69 orgy male homosexual festival of jizz and self-loathing. Continue the good work, boyos. You're all fags. Yes you too, ChrisDong

This just In...Debian announces "YOB" license... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2665933)

Debian Licensing Issues
December 5, 2001

In response to the recent confusion regarding LDPL to FDL or OPL conversion; Debian has announced the "You Our Bitch License" (YOBL). The YOBL allows the Debian distribution team to take your formerly-released writings and modify it without credit to include in our distribution. This will ensure that in the future if we change the rules we can just take your name off, add a comma, and put someone elses name on it (known as the "Take the Fuck Out of the Equation" [T-FOE] clause). This new license is available to the documentation writers and will be appended shortly within the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG).

...or rewrite from scratch (5, Interesting)

brassman (112558) | more than 12 years ago | (#2665955)

Ouch. Someone once came to my modest how-to [handsononhowto.com] site, then sent me a screed worthy of RMS demanding that I contribute it to the LDP. I went there, found out that in order to do so I would have to learn LinuxDoc or SGML, and promptly lost all interest.

It's a pity; I think I have a knack for creating usable documentation (and it's safer than asking me to write kernel patches, anyway); but that's one flaming hoop too many to jump through.

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