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Re: install documentation attribution/copyright in ubuntu & debian.

On Sat, Jan 03, 2009 at 03:49:27PM -0800, Ian Kelling wrote:
> I've used other distros, today I decided to try out ubuntu and debian and I 
> noticed something that doesn't seem right. I was reading the install 
> documentation and decided to compare with ubuntu. I first noticed that this 
> page
> http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/amd64/ch04s03.html.en
> was almost the same as this page
> https://help.ubuntu.com/8.10/installation-guide/amd64/boot-usb-files.html
> Then I noticed that a lot of the debian and ubuntu install documentation 
> seems to be the exact same sentences.

Indeed, the Ubuntu guide is derived closely from the Debian one (since
the same goes for the code) and duly acknowledges this. (I'm a Debian
contributor too and would have absolutely no truck with any attempt to
remove attribution or relicense.)

> Ok, thats fine, but then I noticed that the debian install doc is 
> copyrighted gplv2 and ubuntu one is copyrighted as Creative Commons 
> ShareAlike 3.0 License. From what I've read, you can't relicense a derived 
> work either way with these licenses without the original authors permission.

This is a misstatement of the Ubuntu licensing.

The help.ubuntu.com page you link to has a link at the bottom ("Legal")

  "Unless stated otherwise on the front page of the document, the
  documents are made available under the Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0
  License (CC-BY-SA)."

The front page of the document in question has a link labelled "Legal
Notice", which says:

  "This manual is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify
  it under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Please refer to
  the license in Appendix F, GNU General Public License."

So we are absolutely *not* relicensing the installation guide. As you
note, this would be a breach of copyright law.

> So then I looked at the documents and debian's says copyright by "Debian 
> Installer team". Ubuntu's says it is "maintained by the Ubuntu 
> documentation team" and has a list peoples names of contributors. Hmmm...

https://help.ubuntu.com/8.10/installation-guide/amd64/index.html links
to "Major Contributions"
which is identical to Debian's except for one added sentence.

I'll file a bug about the contributor list confusion, but it is intended
to apply to the help.ubuntu.com site as a whole, not to the installation
guide. It would probably be best if the Legal link at the bottom of each
installation-guide page were simply removed, as it is superseded by
material in the document itself.

I will come down upon anyone in Ubuntu who breaches Debian copyright
like the living fires of hell. Fortunately, that doesn't appear to have
happened here; just some confusing (although accurate if read rather
carefully) wording, that I think has good intentions but didn't consider
this case very well.

Colin Watson                                       [cjwatson@ubuntu.com]

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