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Re: GPL for documentation ?

On Thu, 10 Mar 2005, Gervase Markham wrote:
> Daniel Carrera wrote:
> >I was hoping you could help me understand the implications of using the 
> >GPL for documentation:
> >
> >1) The GPL language talks about software. How does that apply to something 
> >that is not software?
> With difficulty, IMO. Although, as someone points out, the GPL only
> uses the word "software" a few times, it is assumed throughout. For
> example, what do you do with a dictionary under the GPL and a word
> processor? Is it just data used by the program, or is it a part of
> it? It's really hard to figure it out, and creates uncertainty.

What about it? If the combination in question of the GPLed work and
your work is a derived work, then the GPL covers the work as a whole.

If you're talking about source code, the prefered form for
modification applies equally well to documentation as it does to
programmatic works.

If there really is a source for confusion, then make an addendum to
the license file explaining how the author views the GPL applying to
the work.

> Please don't use the GPL for documentation; it wasn't designed for
> it. Ideally, you'd use a DFSG-free documentation-specific licence,
> but I seem to remember there isn't one of those. ICBW, of course.

It may not have been designed specifically for it, but there are few
specific problems that have been pointed out with using the GPL for
documentation that cannot be trivially overcome.

Also, if you must discourage people from using a license, please point
out specific problems with the license that preclude its application
to a specific class of work. Otherwise we devolve into discussing
generalities and the ever present FUD.

Don Armstrong

 -- Vietnam War Penquin Lighter

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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