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Policy on Licenses for Manuals

Item posted by Sylvain Beucler <Beuc> on Mon 13 Feb 2006 01:08:36 PM UTC.

An important aspect Savannah's rules is the practice of verifying all licenses for consistency--software licenses must be compatible with GNU GPL (version-2-or-later), so that Savannah projects, and all GNU projects, can easily build upon each other's code.

We have now recognized that the similar issue for documentation licenses needs to be addressed, and we have decided to address it in a similar fashion. Specifically, our policy is now that new projects, and new manuals, should be released under a license compatible with the GNU Free Documentation License (current-version-or-later). Disjunctive dual licenses which include this as one option are compatible.

This policy applies to manuals written in Texinfo, and documentation which ought to be improved into such manuals. Informal materials, FAQs, and so on can be under a license compatible with either the GNU GPL or the GFDL (or both).

Existing manuals of existing non-GNU packages which are currently licensed under GPL-2-or-later can remain on Savannah with their current licenses, though we would like to change them if possible. However, existing manuals with other GFDL-incompatible licenses represent bigger problems, that we need to solve sooner or later, so we will be contacting the developers of these packages by and by.

In addition, it is vital for all documentation files to have clear statements of their licenses. We have just discovered that some projects have not done this, and we will be contacting those projects to address the problem.

(initial post on 20060211 - updated 20060213 with clarifications)

Comments are welcome at

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