Documentation Licensing

David Miller justdave at
Tue May 4 02:37:50 UTC 2004

The Bugzilla Guide is currently licensed under the GNU Free 
Documentation License (henceforth referred to as "GFDL").

I've recently discovered some interesting tidbits about the GFDL, 
particularly several of the restrictions it imposes on the document 
which make it not exactly "Free" (as in speech).  When I tried to track 
down more information on these things I'd been hearing, the best summary 
of the issues I found is a position statement from Debian, declaring why 
they don't consider that license to be Free.

Here's Debian's position on it:

Doing some more reading, you will discover that recent changes to the 
Debian Constitution also mean that the GFDL is now on the "banned 
licenses" list for Debian, meaning anything using that license will no 
longer be allowed to be distributed by Debian (and probably not by 
several other distros that are based on Debian either).

This means people getting Bugzilla from Debian (or derivatives) will no 
longer get a copy of the Bugzilla documentation with it.

I don't consider Debian to be the end-all and be-all of what's Free (I'm 
sure lots of people know how radical they've been known to be at times 
;) ) however, I do happen to agree with them on this issue, after 
reading through the license myself.

Anyone have any opinions on this?  Should we make an attempt to 
relicense the Bugzilla Guide?  My personal opinion is that the 
documentation for Bugzilla shouldn't be any less free than Bugzilla 
itself is.

I am open to suggestions as to possible new licenses.  I note that the 
Mozilla Documentation is currently not licensed, and they have a 
discussion underway to come up with a license to use for theirs.  Among 
the candidates listed on their page are the Open Publications License 
and the LDP Copying License.  There's no reason we need to do the same 
thing Mozilla does, however.

Maybe we don't even need to change it.  But I'd like to open the 
discussion on it at least.

Dave Miller      Project Leader, Bugzilla Bug Tracking System   

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