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Licensing directions for Fedora content



http://iquaid.org/2009/01/06/the-outside-and-inside-of-documentation-or-why-arent-you-publishing-on-the-fedora-wiki/#comment-2960

I fully understand Thilo's points, and in many ways he is correct.

Would there be value in pursuing additional licensing for Fedora
Documentation?

To be clear -- we really want to trust our lawyers on this one, so in
the end, what they recommend or require is surely the way to go.  But
we can go a long way toward influencing their opinion on the community
value of a licensing decision, outside of the legal value.

In a nutshell, here is why we have not used the CC or GNU FDL in
Fedora Docs:

* CC has no warranty protection clause.  This is important in
  countries such as the US; we put out technical content that could
  blow up someone's computer if they misuse it or we edit it
  incorrectly, we don't want to be liable for that.

  But perhaps we can use a CC and add a "NO WARRANTY" clause?  Or, add
  the "NO WARRANTY" clause to the document itself so it is modifiable
  by anyone willing to take on the increased risk?

* The GNU Free Documentation License 1.0 (FDL) is notoriously
  difficult to use, unless you use it with strict guidelines on how
  not to trip yourself up; this is essentially Debian's approach AIUI.
  Thilo's example of not being able to pull in GNOME documentation
  because of not being able to mix FDL in to OPL content is true.
  However, when we did use the FDL and pursued blending in GNOME
  content, we faced the various FDL requirements.  They are not hard
  to maintain, just ... tedious.  I was happier linking out the GNOME
  Documentation Guidelines rather than pulling them directly in to our
  own guide; less to maintain.

  I hear the new FDL is addressing these downfalls (issues with using
  invariant sections, cover texts, enormous license and attribution
  notices, etc.)

The OPL is not an abandoned license AFAIK.  Even if it is no longer
maintained, it is not requiring maintenance.  It is linked from the
front of the active http://opencontent.org.  (The opencontent.org/wiki
is under a CC license, fwiw ...)

Regardless of all that, if Red Hat wants to continue using the OPL,
perhaps Fedora Docs could dual-license content.  That way we could
blend in GNU FDL content from e.g. GNOME, and do it so it doesn't
actually mix with our dual-licensed content for our OPL-preferring
downstream.

I've been involved with Docs licensing for a long time, and I'm
willing to let my opinion evolve.  I think that Thilo is making good
points mixed with some inaccuracies and an overly strong tone.
Perhaps it is time to reconsider Fedora content licensing from the
stand point of the community itself.

- Karsten
-- 
Karsten 'quaid' Wade, Community Gardener
http://quaid.fedorapeople.org
AD0E0C41

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