[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Robert Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Fri Nov 23 18:09:35 UTC 2007

Andrew Whitworth wrote:
> My point with the question was that the specific case of CC-BY-SA is a
> very nice analog for the GFDL in many respects. The Share-alike (SA)
> requirement of the license ensures that it is perpetually viral like
> the GFDL is, and the By-attribution (BY) aspect ensures that authors
> receive proper credit for their work. From a philosophical standpoint,
> this is almost identical to the GFDL. The benefit to using CC-BY-SA
> over the GFDL is that CC-BY-SA documents do not need to be accompanied
> by the whole text of the license, which is a gigantic benefit for
> short documents and images. This is why wikinews chose to switch to
> the CC-BY-SA, why commons prefers that license for it's images, and
> why many wikibookians are interested in per-book cross-licensing
> arrangements with this license.
> --Andrew Whitworth
I will note here that when the license issue for Wikinews came up, I 
voted for using the GFDL on Wikinews.  I do understand many of the 
arguments against the GFDL on Wikinews, and many of them are very 
valid.  I just liked the GFDL better, and felt that a common license 
among all Wikimedia projects was a better option.  BTW, the issue of 
moving Wikinews content to Wikipedia has come up on Wikipedia, with some 
people pointing out (correctly IMHO) that the CC license used by 
Wikinews is completely incompatible with the GFDL on Wikipedia.  There 
are some real problems in that regard having Wikinews under a completely 
different licensing regime but that was also dealt with when the license 
decision was made.  I hope this isn't the primary motivation behind the 
harmonization effort on the GFDL right now.

I'll also note that every image I've ever added to Commons (minus a few 
exceptions for good reasons) has been under the terms of the GFDL as 
well.... even though other licenses exist and I've known about them.  I 
hope that this "preference for CC images" is something that is expressed 
on Commons as something that many individuals are doing, and not 
something perceived as a mandatory requirement.  I'm not here as a 
die-hard advocate of the GFDL, but as an individual I would encourage 
others to contribute media and other content under the GFDL as well.

I also don't think the whole text inclusion issue is something that is 
necessarily a major problem with the GFDL.... even if that is something 
I hope that will be fixed with the next version update of the GFDL.  
This is a very legitimate criticism of the GFDL, but not a fatal flaw as 
has sometimes been said.

-- Robert Horning

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