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Revision as of 12:26, 5 September 2009
Is the GFDL a good free content license?
Background and content
The GFDL was designed for manuals, textbooks, other reference and instructional materials, and documentation which often accompanies GNU software. However, it can be used for any text-based work, regardless of subject matter. For example, Wikipedia uses the GFDL for all of its text.
The Debian project and Nathanael Nerode have raised objections to the license. Debian developers eventually voted to consider works licensed under the GFDL to comply with their Debian Free Software Guidelines provided the invariant section clauses are not used. These critics recommend the use of alternative licenses such as the share-alike Creative Commons licenses, the BSD Documentation License, or even the GNU GPL. They consider the GFDL a non-free license. The reasons for this are that the GFDL allows "invariant" text which cannot be modified or removed, and that its prohibition against digital rights management (DRM) systems applies to valid usages, like for "private copies made and not distributed".
This debate asks whether the GFDL is a good free content license. The GFDL was used by the largest free content site, Wikipedia, until Wikipedia switched to Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-by-SA) 3.0 in June 2009.