Matthew C. Weigel weigel+ at
Tue Aug 28 17:43:46 UTC 2001

On Tue, 28 Aug 2001 sambc at wrote:

[would you mind wrapping your lines?]

> >Not as a primary topic of discussion, no.  Unaffiliated
> >documentation suffers from bitrot at a much higher rate than
> >affiliated documentation (and how often do you find out-of-date man
> >pages in Linux?).
> accepted as true, but not necessarily universal or true (LFS being a
> good example)

The LFS isn't documentation, it's a document trying to suggest a
standard.  But really, unaffiliated documentation suffers higher
bitrot - if you keep up, it's because you're working harder.

Goodness, I didn't realize it was controversial - it's God's own truth
to the technical writers I know.

> And in some cases documentation may be distributed as, say, SGML, to
> be built into a more readable form by the user.

And I would say that's not correct either.

> Further, a good way to implement patch-style updates for docs is used
> on my sLODL, and in the GNU FDL to a certain extent (last I checked).

Looking at the GNU FDL, I'm not seeing what you mean.

> >No-modify licenses simply aren't free or open.
> but modify with patches is.

For software.  We don't have an OSD for documentation licenses.

The point of documentation is to be read.  If it requires building, it
needs to be built before the reader gets to it.

How do you let someone browsing in IE from work read your derivative
work?  They can't simply patch the provided documentation from within
the browser, getting a seamless view of the new work.  You can't patch
it for them, and distribute it via HTTP.

He's already stated he's going to distribute it in Word format or PDF -
how do you patch those, anyways?

> >I provided two suggestions - but I still don't think his needs will be
> >served by us.
> and you are in a position to make that judgement?

As much as you are to decide his neeeds *will* be served here.  With
groups like the LDP and FSF working on free documentation, I think it's
at least obvious there are *better* venues.

> this is a list to discuss licensing, why not? I think they woule
> serve a more clear and present need & purpose than a glut of software
> licenses...

There's a clear and present need to address the W3C software license.
 Matthew Weigel
 Research Systems Programmer
 mcweigel at ne weigel at

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