The vote to remove GFDL licensed works with invariant sections from “main” and move them to the “non-free” section of Debian was passed on February 2006 (See 2006-03-15). Some outside of Debian were confused by the resulting decision and by the procedure to make the decision. The general resolution included a second amendment (that was offered as “Choice 3” on the ballot) that argues the GFDL is not only free but that its disputed traits are comparable to features found in other licenses (original BSD, GPL) that are otherwise deemed “free” by Debian.
Comments on the license should be made to the FreeSoftwareFoundation itself, join news:gnu.misc.discuss. Comments on Debian’s decision and its consequences should be directed to the debian-legal mailing list.
One suggestion to avoid confusion over the Debian-free Emacs package in Debian main is to move all of Emacs to non-free. This makes sense for technical reasons, since Emacs upstream doesn’t want to hear about bug reports for distributions of Emacs that are missing the otherwise integrated documentation.
One result of the conflict between the Debian DFSG and GNU GFDL is that Debian packages the documentation separately from the rest of emacs. Install these packages to get emacs including the manual:
emacs21 - The GNU Emacs editor emacs21-bin-common - The GNU Emacs editor's shared, architecture dependent files emacs21-common - The GNU Emacs editor's shared, architecture independent infrastructure emacs21-common-non-dfsg - GNU Emacs shared, architecture independent, non-DFSG items
For more about the GNU FDL, see:
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See also LegalMatters