[Wikipedia-l] How Wikipedia breaks the GNU/FDL

Andre Engels engels at uni-koblenz.de
Wed Aug 6 07:40:13 UTC 2003

Before going after other people's supposed GNU/FDL violations, we should
realize that we don't follow the letter of it ourselves either. I found that
the following provisions are broken by Wikipedia. Note that the Title Page
of Wikipedia is defined in the GNU/FDL. If we consider each page a separate
GNU/FDL document, it is the part between the title of the page and its text.
If we consider Wikipedia a single document, it is probably above the text
"Main Page" on the main page.

It seems that the smallest amount of broken rules comes when we consider
Wikipedia as a "Collection of Documents" rather than "Combined Documents" or
a single document, but in any case we break:

4B: We do not list the author of the last version plus at least five authors
    of the old version on the title page.
4E: We do not add a copyright notice each time a new document is created.
4F+addendum: The license notice of Wikipedia is not in the prescribed form,
    and it is not put on the title page
4I: Our history section is called "<title> Revision history" rather than

And that's just the English version. Other languages have even greater
problems. The German version already starts with not containing the GNU/FDL
but only a link to it. Some of the minor languages have not even that.

Andre Engels

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