[Foundation-l] Third-party GFDL text irrevocably incompatible with Wikipedia as of August 1

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Thu May 28 09:03:13 UTC 2009

> As much as anything else it is the short time frame that will look
> pushy.  Wikipedia went through a lot of debate *before* the switch, and

The timeframe is a problem, absolutely.

> the internal debates of others should not matter less.  As I understand
> what is being said they will still be able to import from WMF projects;

For a limited time - until some bit of cc-sa material is incorporated
into a given article.  In a matter of months or years they will no
longer be able to import text from the latest pages; they won't be
able to choose then to relicense, because it will no longer be
possible under GFDL 1.3.

This is all we need to convey.  If a given site doesn't care, great!
but most people, even those familiar with this process and our
discussions of it, do not understand the long-term implications of the
august deadline.   [In part because the limited-time-dual-licensing
language muddies the issue, perhaps.]

> If WMF projects can't copy from them it will more likely enhance the uniqueness
> of their project, a potentially positive result in a competitive market.

I'm worried about small sites that want intercompatibility with WMF
projects (which are the gorilla in the room), and larger ones whose
communities expect this to be a standing option.  In terms of raw
content, the fraction of new material that is imported from sites that
aren't already considering switching is small.  But we have a certain
obligation to act as stewards for the free sharing of knowledge, in a
networked community that we have helped to build, including thousands
of groups who we don't directly see on Wikipedia but who have made
choices based on ours in the past.

Sites for which compatibility isn't relevant, but choosing the right
free license for wide reuse is, should also understand why we have
wanted this change for years, and why we have decided to make the
transition.  We will help others by being proud of this and the
thought (and thousands of legal person-hours) that went into it, not


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