Talk:GNU Free Documentation License

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Andy, my impression of the GFDL is different. I've actually talked on the phone with the director of the FSF, specifically about Wikipedia.

Note that it is a "documentation" license. As originally conceived, this meant manuals telling people how to use computer software - specifically, free software released under the GPL. They never intended it for multiple-author collaborative projects like an encyclopedia.

We ought to take a look at the Creative Commons licensing scheme. It is much simpler. --Ed Poor Talk 07:58, 18 February 2009 (EST)

Hi Ed, I hope this is the right place to reply to your message on my talk page! I agree that the CC licenses are much better than GFDL for an encyclopedia. I guess the GFDL probably makes some sense for software documentation, where it's necessary to keep track of stuff that was relevant to old versions of the software, etc...
However, CC licenses are much more flexible and a lot simpler. I'm the trustee for a charity supporting a hospital set up by Mother Teresa in Calcutta. We use CC licenses for all our public documentation and it works wonderfully. The local churches give out single-page leaflets to families in high-poverty areas near the hospital. In theory, if we used GFDL we would need to also provide a leaflet explaining the silly chain-letter style rules of the GFDL, another leaflet with a list of everyone who sat in the meetings going through the text, and another leaflet explaining exactly what everyone contributed!
CC licenses simply say that everyone is free to use and distribute the documents, but they have to give credit to the author (this credit can be given in any form you like, such as "This text came from <link> at Conservapedia". Note that you don't have to give the GFDL-style ridiculous list of EVERY author!). You can choose to "bolt-on" any of the following options:
  • NoDerivatives - Prevents people from changing the document. Our charity uses this option because local Hindu extremists who object to Christians helping their community(!) have previously distributed modified versions of our leaflets, packed full of lies and scaremongering.
  • ShareAlike - Forces people to release derivatives under the same license. This wasn't relevant for us, because we don't allow derivatives!
  • NonCommercial - Prevents people from using it for commercial gain. We didn't use this option, because we believe that free trade needs to be promoted in such a poor area and if a local business finds our work useful, then good luck to them! As long as they don't change the content, we don't mind!
Sorry this was a bit lengthy - I saw that there's a rule here about the number of talk-page posts, so I tried to put as comprehensive an answer in a single post. JeffP 10:45, 18 February 2009 (EST)
I agree that CC is much better than GFDL, which should be discarded as soon as possible. A teacher cannot even easily use GFDL material to educate his students! That's an outrage.
That said, I'm not convinced CC licenses are worth the trouble either. Knowledge and the truth should be available to all. At Conservapedia, we welcome good faith uses by others without any red tape.--Andy Schlafly 10:49, 18 February 2009 (EST)
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