Can doc/ contain documentation independently of source/

Karl Berry karl at
Tue Feb 4 00:29:13 CET 2020

As far as I'm concerned, the difference between doc/ and source/ is
essentially meaningless. The vast number of files in the gray area
between might be assigned to either one. (I long ago suggested simply
merging source/ into doc/ and getting rid of source/, but other people
did not like that idea. So fine.)

Also, I might override the distinction for any particular package
whenever I feel it is better. Specifically, for smaller packages, I feel
it is more helpful for users to keep everything in its doc/ directory
instead of moving a single file or two (e.g., a Makefile) to source/,
apart from all the things it operates on. That just seems senseless.

I complain about many things to uploaders, but their assignment of files
to doc/ and source/ (when they make one) is one thing I just accept. I
don't think it makes any practical difference.

If I were trying to make a package's pdf, the first thing I would do is
merge any doc/ and source/ directories into one.

As for recreating in general: it's supposed to be possible, with the
exception that if the original doc uses some weird (e.g., system) font
purely for aesthetic purposes, it's ok to require changing the source to
use a free font. Not that it's anything I ever recommend or suggest or
like, but that decision was made long ago.

Since we don't, in fact, try to recreate pdfs (or whatever) from
sources, I have no doubt that the sources are insufficient in some
cases. All I can suggest is contacting the package author. There is no
requirement that it be easy to remake.

The primary purpose of requiring sources is not about recreating the
pdfs as distributing, but for the general reason for free software in
the first place: so that if someone enhances the package, they can also
update the documentation. In principle.


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