License of the Ubuntu Book?

adam hyde adam at
Tue Jul 3 08:19:53 UTC 2007

I popped into the Creative Commons list and asked the question about
GPL/CC-BY-SA 'similarity' and it sparked off quite a discussion :

Paul Keller gave the final summation :
GPL requires that the licensor passes on the source code with the any  
binary distribution (very short summary). CC-BY-SA does not require  
if there was comatibility between GPL and BY-SA then in the direction  
(1) than this would mean that this requirement does not apply under  
the BY-SA. this is hardly compatible but at best a way to get out of  
the source code requirement of GPL. FSF will never agree to this.

in direction (2) (BY-SA --> GPL) this would mean an extra requirement  
placed on the work. so the two are also not compatible. CC will never  
allow licensees to add extra requirements on works obtained under a  
CC license.

also the GPL is a software licenses and the 6 core CC licenses are  
not intended for software. of course the original licensor can always  
dual license under GPL and CC

In other words...they aren't compatible or similar. Hence if material is
licensed under the CC-BY-SA, such as the Ubuntu book, it cannot be
distributed under the GPL. 

I would be interested if the authors would consider this as it would be
good if documentation is licensed under the same license as the software
so the docs could also be distributed within the sourcecode of free/open
source software (in help menus etc).

The FSF itself agrees that the GPL _can_ be used for manuals.

Any of the authors on this list? It would be interesting to hear if this
was discussed or if it is a possible strategy for future books.


On Tue, 2007-07-03 at 10:00 +1000, Jeremy Visser wrote: 
> adam hyde wrote:
> > is the GPL a sufficiently 'similar' license?
> Quoted from RMS himself:
> > I am pretty sure none of [the Commons licenses] is
> > compatible with the GNU GPL. However, no reasonable
> > free documentation license is compatible with the GNU GPL.
adam hyde
'free as in media'


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