[Wikipedia-l] GFDL and Wikipedia, II

Simon Kissane sj_kissane at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 26 18:00:32 UTC 2001

--- Axel Boldt <axel at uni-paderborn.de> wrote:
> A couple more things:
> * I am not in favor of switching to another license
> for three reasons:
>    ** designing a license is not easy, and it would
> suck a lot of energy out of Wikipedia proper.
So long as we don't start overreach, all we need to is
make some simple changes to the GNU FDL, mainly
deleting some of the requirements in section 4, such
as the five author requirement. Of course, we'd need
to get FSF permission to create a modified version of
the GNU FDL, but I suspect they'd probably give it to
us, so long as we didn't call it the FDL, and we
acknowledged it as originating with them.

> Furthermore, it is not clear that in the end we 
> would be able to agree on one license.
Well, if we take the FDL as a base, and make only
those changes are necessary to make it fit with

I am planning to create my own modification of the FDL
as a demonstration, and post it to see peoples
reactions. I probably shouldn't post a modified
version, even though it would only be to gather
comments, since copyright on the FDL doesn't allow it,
until I get permission from the FSF. (I have emailed
RMS to ask him.)

>    ** GFDL has goodwill in the community; our new
> license would be scrutinized and certainly 
> criticized by vocal GNU hawks.
Again, basing it on the FDL with only a minimum of
necessary modifications would solve this problem.

>    ** I think it is not too difficult for Wikipedia
> to comply with GFDL, see below.
> * the requirement that (at least) the five most
> important authors be listed can be easily fulfilled 
> once we keep complete logs (which is desirable for 
> other reasons as well). We simply list *all*
> contributing authors then, and that is in compliance

> with GFDL.
The problem here is, what if two hundred people have
each made one edit to an article. Under the FDL, if I
want to post that article anywhere else, or print it,
I'd have to post the log as well.

I like the idea of not acknowledging the authors of
articles. I think it emphasises the collective and
communal nature of Wikipedia. In fact, I personally
would rather not be acknowledged. But the FDL as it
stands seems to force such acknowledgement.

>    ** We are currently using FOLDOC materials which
> were licensed to us under GFDL.
This would cause problems for my proposal to modify
the FDL license, since we'd probably need their
permission to distribute their material under a
different license. But if its significantly similar to
the FDL, I think we'd have a good chance.

And I doubt we are following the terms of the FDL at
present anyway in so far as including FOLDOC materials

Simon J Kissane

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