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Re: Request for suggestions of DFSG-free documentation licenses

Shriramana Sharma <samjnaa@gmail.com> wrote:
>Thanks for all your feedback, but the GPL also has some clauses that are 
>not applicable to documentation as pointed out at:

Debian does not agree with the FSF opinion on this.  The FSF's opinion 
is basically an excuse to allow their "invariant sections", which Debian
considers unacceptable.  The FSF severely exaggerates in order to 
promote the GFDL.

The GPL is a very suitable license for manuals in electronic form -- in 
electronic form, we *do* want source code for our manuals (troff, TeX, 
whatever).  In addition, it is *extremely* valuable for the manual to be 
licensed under the same license as the program.  *Extremely* valuable.  
This makes it far, far easier for people to move online help into the 
manual and back, and the same with comments in the code.

The GPL contains some clauses which are somewhat irritating for 
*printed* manuals *only*.  Debian does not think that this is a problem,
as Debian does not distribute printed manuals (the user can always 
print them himself).

If the manual has a single copyright holder (your company, 
perhaps), the copyright holder can always print and sell the manual, 
period, without restrictions, end of story; the copyright holder 
doesn't need a license to do so.

If you plan to use work copyrighted by other people in the manual, and 
you want to make printed copies; or if you want to make it easy for 
*other people* to make printed copies and sell them; then you can 
dual-license the manual under the GPL and a printing-friendly license.

If this is the same company which is licensing its software under a dual 
GPL-and-proprietary model, I think it probably makes the most sense for 
your company to simply license the manual under the GPL.  This means 
that your company is the only one which can distribute *printed* copies 
of the manual without attaching a CD, diskette, or offer to provide source
code.  Some people will probably be willing to pay for the 
professionally printed copies.  :-)

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