Documentation Licensing

Gervase Markham gerv at
Tue May 4 17:51:00 UTC 2004

David Miller wrote:

> 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 decision may be stayed till after the 'sarge' release, but yes, the 
writing is definitely on the wall.

> 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 think we should relicense.

> 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.

What page is that? I know of no such page.

My original suggestion for Mozilla documentation was an Creative Commons 
License. Thinking about it, though, we may have a problem.

- I think requiring attribution is bad, because you get "credit bloat" - 
each MPLed file suffers from this to a certain degree, and would suffer 
a lot more if everyone who qualified added their name. For a whole 
document, it would quickly get out of hand. Particularly if you then 
copy one chapter into a new document, and a bit of that into a third, 
and so on.

- ShareAlike would be good, except that the terms are: "If you alter, 
transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting 
work only under a license identical to this one." This means we couldn't 
convert some of the docs to HTML help templates and license them under 
the MPL.

- We want to allow commercial uses. I hope one day there will be a 
Bugzilla book, and it would be foolish to prevent the author(s) using 
the Guide material.

So if you put the above reasoning into the CC license chooser, you end 
up with a Public Domain dedication... which may or may not be what we want.

Anyone else got any thoughts?


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