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Re: Debian Wiki license.

On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 03:15:21AM +0100, Franklin PIAT wrote:
> I have the impression that since wiki.debian.net was moved to
> http://wiki.debian.org in 2004, It has never had a valid
> "/copyright.html" page.
> (because that page was static on wiki.d.net, but wiki.d.net had a catch
> all redirect to *.org, so the copyright wasn't ever served)
> If that was confirmed, may be we could apply the (www.)debian.org
> license to the Wiki ? (inherit ??)
> Alternatively, can't we apply a "de facto" license that match the
> practices on this (and others) wikis ?
> i.e : You can edit any page, people can edit your page, People can
> derive your work, and preserve the same license, freely distributable,
> etc...

I do not believe we can apply any new license to existing material
without getting permission from each contributor. In some cases we have
anonymous edits so we won't be able to contact the authors.

We could fix *future* edits. If we made it so that you could only submit
an edit if you agreed to license your content under a license (like
wikipedia do with the GFDL); then all new pages would be ok, at least.

We would still need to track which pages were from before we implemented
a new scheme.

One question is: what license or licenses would be most appropriate for
wiki content? I will start a new thread for that discussion, as it's
separate from the issues of implementing it, or handling older content.

I think this process is going to be long and painful. In the mean-time,
people want to use the wiki day-to-day.

Take, as an example, <http://wiki.debian.org/Maintainers>. I created
this page initially (and Anibal has greatly improved it) and opted to
stick the "GPLv2" copyright on the bottom. The reason I did this was the
maintainers scheme was relatively new, the procedure was having wrinkles
ironed out, and so things changed quite frequently: a wikipage was ideal
for keeping track of what was happening. However, at some point the
procedure will settle down and the package documentation will need
updating. When this happens, that documentation can be derived directly
from the wiki-page.

I did not want to wait for the wiki copyright situation to be resolved
before doing this.

> > P.S.: are wiki page deletions permanent on MoinMoin?
> No. (I wouldn't have deleted them otherwise)
> (goto "RecentChanges", click on the deleted page, then click on Info.
> you can view any version).
> Accept my apologies, if you got upset.

Thanks for the info: no need to apologise. The edits aren't permanent, I
just was a bit suprised to go out for an hour and come back to see
everything gone :)

> > Irrespective of what we may want to do in the future, I am trying to
> > document current practise. This includes the inherited old license
> > (which I had to dig out of web.archive.org).

> I understand that, but please don't replace the current
> http://wiki.debian.org/copyright.html until we have a final resolution
> on this point.
> Every time we write something on copyright page, someone could say it
> can be enforced...
> Doing that study on a standalone page would be a great idea. (Especially
> if we can find a good solution).

Ok, I will put what I was putting on /copyright.html somewhere else
until it's in a semi-finished state, then we can discuss moving it to

Just to re-iterate, what I am doing is describing the *current
situation* on the wiki, not what license new stuff is under.

> > P.P.S.: I like the idea of wiki discussions taking place on
> > a mailing list, btw -- I think we should see how it works on
> > -www, though, and keep the option open to have a specific
> > list for the purpose.

> I'm just sure of one thing : Having a discussion on a wiki is insane ;)
> Wikipedia has no other choice, because of their business 
> model... but Debian has mailing lists.

I think in some cases a "summary of discussion" page could be useful.
I've often thought that a page tracking a particularly large thread on
-devel would be handy (indeed just the other day when discussing BTS

Anyway I'll stop derailing this thread :)

> Regarding having a debian-wiki mailing list, well I would rather talk
> about it later. Once there's an actual need for it.

Sure, I agree. (actually back when wiki.debian.org was created I
requested a list -- <http://bugs.debian.org/333378>, but there was no
demand then)

Jon Dowland

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