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As I tried to point out in the recent discussions about the GFDL (not
sure whether that point has come through, but anyway), although the GFDL
is crafted in a way which makes it not DFSG-free, IMHO there is nothing
wrong with the spirit, the intention, of the GFDL.

As such, I've taken the GFDL, and modified it in a way that retains the
spirit of the GFDL, but results in a license which is, IMO, DFSG-free.
I'm assuming the text of the GFDL is copyrighted in the same way as the
GPL is, so I renamed it to the "WDL", for "Wouter's Documentation
License" -- that's just until I find a more suitable name for it.

As said, IMO this "WDL" is DFSG-free, but I'd like -legal's input on
this. There might also be some parts which aren't perfect from a legal
POV; IANAL, and I could've made a number of (slight|serious|) mistakes.

Attached, the text of the WDL, as an ASCII text file, and another ASCII
text file enumerating the differences between the FDL and the WDL, with
a bit of explanation.


Wouter Verhelst
Debian GNU/Linux -- http://www.debian.org
Nederlandstalige Linux-documentatie -- http://nl.linux.org
"Stop breathing down my neck." "My breathing is merely a simulation."
"So is my neck, stop it anyway!"
  -- Voyager's EMH versus the Prometheus' EMH, stardate 51462.
Wouter's Documentation License

Version 1.0-DRAFT
Copyright (C) 2003, Wouter Verhelst

1. Applicability and definitions

This License applies to any manual or other work, in any medium, that
contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be
distributed under the terms of this License.  Such a notice grants a
world-wide, royalty-free license, unlimited in duration, to use that
work under the conditions stated herein.  The "Document", below,
refers to any such manual or work.  Any member of the public is a
licensee, and is addressed as "you".  You accept the license if you
copy, modify or distribute the work in a way requiring permission
under copyright law.

A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the
Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with
modifications and/or translated into another language.

A "Secondary Section" is a named appendix or a front-matter section of
the Document that deals exclusively with the relationship of the
publishers or authors of the Document to the Document's overall
subject (or to related matters) and contains nothing that could fall
directly within that overall subject. (Thus, if the Document is
in part a textbook of mathematics, a Secondary Section may not explain
any mathematics.) The relationship could be a matter of historical
connection with the subject or with related matters, or of legal,
commercial, philosophical, ethical or political position regarding

The "Opiniated Sections" are certain Secondary Sections which are
clearly marked, at the start and the end of the Secondary Section, as
being an Opiniated Section. If a section does not fit the above
definition of Secondary then it is not allowed to be designated as
Opiniated. If the Document does not contain any sections marked as
Opiniated Sections then there are none.

The "Cover Texts" are certain short passages of text that are listed,
as Front-Cover Texts or Back-Cover Texts, in the notice that says that
the Document is released under this License. A Front-Cover Text may be
at most 5 words, and a Back-Cover Text may be at most 25 words.

A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy,
represented in a format whose specification is available to the
general public, for which an editor can be implemented by anyone,
without requiring an implementer to have patent or other licenses to
that format. A format designed as an output format, rather than an
editable format is not suitable for a Transparent copy. A copy made in
an otherwise Transparent file format whose markup, or absense of
markup, has been arranged to thwart or discourage subsequent
modification by readers is not Transparent.  A copy that is not
"Transparent" is called "Opaque."

Examples of suitable formats for Transparent copies include plain
ASCII without markup, Texinfo input format, LaTeX input format, SGML
or XML using a publicly available DTD, and standard-conforming simple
HTML, PostScript or PDF designed for human modification. Examples of
transparent image formats include PNG, XCF and JPG. Opaque formats
include formats for which the specification is not widely available,
such as those used by some proprietary word processors, SGML or XML
for which the DTD is not generally available, and the
machine-generated HTML, PostScript or PDF produced by some word
processors for output purposes only.

The "Title Page" means, for a printed book, the title page itself,
plus such following pages as are needed to hold, legibly, the material
this License requires to appear in the title page. For works in
formats which do not have any title page as such, "Title Page" means
the text near the most prominent appearance of the work's title,
preceding the beginning of the body of the text.

A section "Entitled XYZ" means a named subunit of the Document whose
title either is precisely XYZ or contains XYZ in parentheses following
text that translates XYZ in another language.  (Here XYZ stands for a
specific section name mentioned below, such as "Acknowledgements",
"Dedications", "Endorsements", or "History".)  To "Preserve the Title"
of such a section when you modify the Document means that it remains a
section "Entitled XYZ" according to this definition.

The Document may include Warranty Disclaimers next to the notice which
states that this License applies to the Document.  These Warranty
Disclaimers are considered to be included by reference in this
License, but only as regards disclaiming warranties: any other
implication that these Warranty Disclaimers may have is void and has
no effect on the meaning of this License.

2. Verbatim copying

You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either
commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the
copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies
to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no
other conditions whatsoever to those of this License.  You may not put
the document on any medium intended for general redistribution whose
technical specifications make it impossible, or mostly so, to make
unlimited copies of the document to another medium. However, you may
accept compensation in exchange for copies.

3. Making copies in print

If you publish printed copies of the Document (or copies in media that
allow for printed covers), you are not required to include a Title
Page, nor are you required to enclose the copies in covers. However,
if you choose to do so, these conditions apply:

You must use the Cover Texts as stated in the license notice, putting
Front-Cover Texts on the front cover, and Back-Cover Texts on the back
cover. Both covers must also clearly and legibly identify you as the
publisher of these copies. The front cover must present the full title
with all words of the title equally prominent and visible.  You may
add other material on the covers in addition.  Copying with changes
limited to the covers, as long as they preserve the title of the
Document and satisfy these conditions, can be treated as verbatim
copying in other respects.

If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit
legibly, you should put the first ones listed (as many as fit
reasonably) on the actual cover, and continue the rest onto adjacent

You are required to distribute a copy of this license, in either
Transparent or Opaque form, along with each copy.

If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document, you must
either include a machine-readable Transparent copy along with each
Opaque copy, or state in or with each Opaque copy a computer-network
location from which the general network-using public has access to
download using public-standard network protocols a complete
Transparent copy of the Document, free of added material. If you use
the latter option, you must take reasonably prudent steps, when you
begin distribution of Opaque copies in quantity, to ensure that this
Transparent copy will remain thus accessible at the stated location
until at least one year after the last time you distribute an Opaque
copy (directly or through your agents or retailers) of that edition to
the public.

If it can reasonably be expected that a certain, existing,
publicly-accessible computer-network location will remain available
for at least one year after the last time you distibute an Opaque
copy, stating that location along with your Opaque copies will satisfy
the requirements of the previous paragraph, as long as the copy you
distribute is not a modified copy.

It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of the
Document well before redistributing any large number of copies, to
give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the

4. Modifications

You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under
the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release
the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified
Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing distribution
and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy
of it.  In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:

A. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct
from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions (which
should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the
Document).  You may use the same title as a previous version if the
original publisher of that version gives permission.
B. List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities
responsible for authorship of the modifications in the Modified
Version, together with at least five of the principal authors of the
Document (all of its principal authors, if it has fewer than five),
unless they release you from this requirement.
C. State on the Title page the name of the publisher of the Modified
Version, as the publisher.
D. Preserve all the copyright notices of the Document.
E. Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent
to the other copyright notices.
F. Include, immediately after the copyright notices, a license notice
giving the public permission to use the Modified Version under the
terms of this License, in the form shown in the Addendum below.
G. Preserve in that license notice the full list of required Cover
Texts given in the Document's license notice.
H. Include an unaltered copy of this License.
I. Preserve the section Entitled "History", Preserve its title, and
add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and
publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there
is no section Entitled "History" in the Document, create one stating
the title, year, authors, and publisher of the Document as given on
its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as
stated in the previous sentence.
J. Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Document for
public access to a Transparent copy of the Document, and likewise the
network locations given in the Document for previous versions it was
based on.  These may be placed in the "History" section. You may omit
a network location for a work that was published at least four years
before the Document itself, or if the original publisher of the
version it refers to gives permission.
K. For any section Entitled "Acknowledgements" or "Dedications",
Preserve the Title of the section, and preserve in the section all the
substance and tone of each of the contributor acknowledgements and/or
dedications given therein. You may remove them from the Document
itself, provided that you distribute them along with the Document; and
if the Document is part of a collection of other documents, you must
clarify that these sections refer to this Document, not to others.
L. Preserve all the Opiniated Sections of the Document, unaltered in
their text, and preserving the notices that mark it as an Opiniated
Section. Section numbers or the equivalent are not considered part of
the section titles. Alternatively, you may modify or remove the
Opiniated Sections, provided you follow the conditions on doing so, as
specified in section 10, below.
M. Delete any section Entitled "Endorsements."  Such a section may not
be included in the Modified Version.
N. Do not retitle any existing section as "Endorsements".
O. Preserve any Warranty Disclaimers, unless you are willing to
provide Warranty, in which case you should add a statement saying that
you, rather than the original authors, do so.

If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or
appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no material
copied from the Document, you may at your option designate some or all
of these sections as Opiniated Sections.  To do this, add a notice to
the beginning and the end of the Opiniated Section, as specified in
section 10 of this license.

You may add a section Entitled "Endorsements", provided it contains
nothing but endorsements of your Modified Version by various
parties-for example, statements of peer review or that the text has
been approved by an organization as the authoritative definition of a

You may add a passage of up to five words as a Front-Cover Text, and a
passage of up to 25 words as a Back-Cover Text, to the end of the list
of Cover Texts in the Modified Version.  Only one passage of
Front-Cover Text and one of Back-Cover Text may be added by (or
through arrangements made by) any one entity.  If the Document already
includes a cover text for the same cover, previously added by you or
by arrangement made by the same entity you are acting on behalf of,
you may not add another; but you may replace the old one, on explicit
permission from the previous publisher that added the old one.

The author(s) and publisher(s) of the Document do not by this License
give permission to use their names for publicity for or to assert or
imply endorsement of any Modified Version.

5. Combining documents

You may combine the Document with other documents released under this
License, under the terms defined in section 4 above for modified
versions, provided that you still mark unmodified, modified, or
removed Opiniated Sections as required by section 10, below. The
combined work need only contain one copy of this License, and multiple
identical Opiniated Sections may be replaced with a single copy.

In the combination, you must combine any sections Entitled "History"
in the various original documents, forming one section Entitled
"History"; likewise combine any sections Entitled "Acknowledgements",
and any sections entitled "Dedications."  You must delete all sections
Entitled "Endorsements."

6. Collections of Documents

You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other
documents released under this License, and replace the individual
copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy
that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules
of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents in all
other respects.

You may extract a single document from such a collection, and
distribute it individually under this License, provided you insert a
copy of this License into the extracted document, and follow this
License in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of that

7. Aggregation with independent works.

A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate
and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or
distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the copyright
resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the legal rights
of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit.
When the Document is included in an aggregate, this License does not
apply to the other works in the aggregate which are not themselves
derivative works of the Document.

If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these
copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one half of
the entire aggregate, the Document's Cover Texts may be placed on
covers that bracket the Document within the aggregate, or the
electronic equivalent of covers if the Document is in electronic form.
Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket the whole

8. Translation

Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may
distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section
4. If you translate an Opiniated Section, the terms as defined in
section 10 apply. You may include a translation of this License, and
all the license notices in the Document, and any Warranty Disclaimers,
provided that you also include the original English version of this
License and the original versions of those notices and disclaimers.
In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original
version of this License or a notice or disclaimer, the original
version will prevail.

If a section in the Document is Entitled "Acknowledgements",
"Dedications", or "History", the requirement (section 4) to Preserve
its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual

9. Termination

You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document
except as expressly provided for under this License.  Any other
attempt to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Document is
void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under
this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such
parties remain in full compliance.

10. Opiniated Sections.

A document can contain any number of Opiniated Sections. An Opiniated
Section should be preceded by the phrase "This is an Opiniated
Section", and should be followed by the phrase "This was an Opiniated
Section". You should retain all these markings in any unmodified
version of the Document, as well as before and after any unmodified
Opiniated Section in any modified version of the Document. You may
modify the markup of these markings, as long as it remains clear where
the Opiniated Section starts, and where it ends.

You are allowed to change, synthesize, or otherwise modify an
Opiniated Section. Should you choose to do so, you must replace the
marking that precedes the Opiniated Section by "This is a modified
Opiniated Section, altered by <your name>. The original, unmodified
Opiniated Section can be found at ", followed by a computer-network
location from which the general network-using public has access to
download using public-standard network protocols a complete
Transparent copy of the original, unmodified Opiniated Section, and
the marking that follows the modified Opiniated Section by "This was a
modified Opiniated Section. The original, unmodified Opiniated Section
can be found at the location as specified above."

You are allowed to specify these phrases in another language, if you
are translating the Opiniated Section into that language.

If you modify an already modified Opiniated Section, you must add a
statement under the marking that precedes the Opiniated Section, and
any other such statements (if any), saying, "It has been subsequently
altered by <your name>. A version without these modifications can be
found at ", followed by a publicly-accessible computer-network
location containing a complete Transparent copy of the Opiniated
Section as it was before your modifications.

You are allowed to completely remove an Opiniated Section. Should you
choose to do so, you must make sure the final, modified Document
contains the phrase "The original, unmodified Document contained an
Opiniated Section, which handled about ", a short description of what
the Opiniated Section was about, followed by "and has been removed in
this version. You can find this Opiniated Section at ", followed by a
computer-network location from which the general network-using public
has access to download using public-standard network protocols a
complete Transparent copy of the original, unmodified Opiniated
Section. You are allowed to specify this in another language, if you
are translating the Opiniated Section into that language.

In contrast to the terms as specified in section 3, for the purpose of
the messages preceding, following, or replacing modified or removed
Opiniated Sections, you are not allowed to point to a
publicly-accessible computer-network location which is not under your
control. In agreement with those terms, however, you must make sure
these locations will remain available for a period of at least one
year after you publish the last copy of your modified Document.

Addendum: How to use this License for your documents.

To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of
the License in the document and put the following copyright and license
notices just after the title page:

     Copyright (C)  YEAR  YOUR NAME.
     Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
     under the terms of Wouter's Documentation License, Version
     1.0-DRAFT; with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover
     Texts. A copy of the license is included in this Document, or
     enclosed with it; if not, a copy can be downloaded at <...>

If you have Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover teksts, replace the
passage about them with 

with the Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the Back-Cover Texts
being LIST.

If you have Front-Cover Texts but no Back-Cover texts or vice versa,
merge those two alternatives to suit the situation.
Differences between the WDL and the GNU FDL

The WDL does not contain a Preamble. The FDL's Preamble is not
actually part of the License, so that should not matter.

In section 1, the applicability paragraph, and the definitions for a
"Modified Version," a "Secondary Section," the "Cover Texts", the
"Title Page", a 'Section "Entitled XYZ"', and the statement about
warranty disclaimers have been taken unmodified from the FDL.

The definition for an "Invariant Section" has been dropped, as the WDL
does not know that concept. Rather, a definition for an "Opiniated
Section" has been introduced, which is similar, but not equal, to an
Invariant Section. The way an Opiniated Section is marked is also
different from that of an Invariant Section.

The definition for a "Transparent Format" has been altered. The
definition as specified in the FDL requires a Transparent Format to be
editable by a normal text editor, or by an existing implementation of
Free Software. I find this requirement flawed; it is not because a
Free (as in speech) implementation of a standard is not available,
that it is not possible to implement such a Free implementation. In
the case a certain format becomes popular, a Free implementation will
probably be implemented, which would make the fact that it is not
available at the time the document is modified or published not as

I have replaced the FDL's definition of a "Transparent" format by the
definition as crafted by the group behind "openstandaarden.be", of
which I am a member, with one additional requirement (that the format
be an editable format, rather than an output format). It must be
noted, however, that that definition was written in Dutch, and that I
am not entirely satisfied with the translation as I wrote it.

I also slightly modified the Examples of "Opaque" and "Transparent"
formats, since my definition renders some of the deemed "Opaque"
examples "Transparent", and vice versa.

Section 2 of the WDL is identical to section 2 of the FDL, except for
the last sentence, which has been dropped. This sentence refers to
making a large number of copies, for which the WDL does not contain
extra requirements.

Section 3 of the FDL regulates making a large quantity of copies. I
find this a flawed way of handling the issue of someone creating a
book out of a document, as it puts certain restrictions on people
doing other things with it; it does, for instance, not allow one to
synthesize a manual into a Quick Reference card.

As such, I rewrote that section so that a Title Page or a cover is not
required, however, if someone chooses to print a version of the
Document with a cover and/or Title Page (something more commonly known
as "a book"), they must use the Title Page and cover texts as
specified in the Document.

This retains the spirit of the cover texts and title pages from the
FDL, without the inconveniences.

Two additional parts have been added: 
* The WDL must be distributed along with all copies of the
  Document. Since the FDL requires the text of the license to be on
  the Title Page(s), and one may not omit a title page, such a
  requirement is not in the text of the FDL. In contrast, the WDL
  allows to omit the Title Page completely, so if people choose to
  excercise that right, they still need to distribute the WDL along
  with it.
* In case you distribute an Opaque version, you're allowed to point to
  some existing network location, provided you can assume that
  location will be there for a while after you distribute the last
  Opaque copy. This is required because I dropped the "more than 100"
  requirement from section 3; in the FDL, the requirements of section
  3 do not apply to someone printing out a copy and giving it to a
  friend; in the WDL, it does, and it is not my intention of requiring
  people to have a website, or something similar, to be able to print
  out a copy and give it to a friend.

Section 4 is almost completely unaltered. Exceptions are:

Section 4G of the FDL requires you to include the titles of Invariant
Sections in the license notice. Since the WDL does not know the
concept of Invariant Sections, this requirement has been dropped.

Section 4K has been modified to allow separating Acknowledgements and
Dedications from the original document (but they must still be
distributed along with the Document).

Section 4L has seen "s/Invariant/Opiniated", and a phrase was added to
allow for modification or removal of Opiniated Sections under the
condition of the added section 10.

The reference to Invariant Sections in Section 4N has been dropped.

In Section 4O, I have added the possibility to drop any Warranty
Disclaimers provided warranty is provided by a publisher.

The next paragraph has been updated to allow people to add Opiniated
Sections, rather than Invariant Sections, with the procedure for doing
so updated as well.

The rest of section 4 is copied, unaltered, from the FDL.

Section 5 has been updated to refer to Opiniated Sections, rather than
Invariant Sections, and the requirement wrt the Title Page has been
dropped. The "History" paragraph is unaltered.

Section 6 and 7 have been copied unaltered from the FDL.

Section 8 has been updated to allow for the translation of Opiniated
Sections. The FDL forbids any modification of Invariant Sections, and
since this forbids translations as well, it allows the translation of
Invariant Sections as long as the original Invariant Section is also
distributed. Since the WDL does not forbid modification, that passage
has been removed.

Section 9 has been copied unaltered from the FDL.

The original section 10 from the FDL has been removed. I am not the
FSF, so it does not apply to me.

Section 10 of the WDL is a new section, which cannot be found in the
FDL. It handles the conditions for modifying or removing an Opiniated

The Addendum has been updated to reflect the name and procedures for
applying the WDL, rather than the FDL. Although it is not part of the
License, and it is IMHO not really required, the License text refers
to it at one point, so it must be included for the License to be
internally consistent.

I have also removed the recommendation to the GPL, and the phrasing
"Or any later version".

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