License of the Ubuntu Book?

Jordan Mantha mantha at
Tue Jul 3 20:45:00 UTC 2007

On Tue Jul 03, 2007 at 10:19:53AM +0200, adam hyde wrote:
> 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.

I'm not one of the authors, but I am a member of the doc team. All of the
doc team's docs are licensed under CC-By-SA 2.5 with the exception of the
Ubuntu Packaging Guide, which is GPL.

While the GPL _can_ be used for manuals that doesn't neccesarily mean we
should use it. Also, not all the software that is discussed in the docs are
licensed under the GPL and in fact none of are docs are supposed to be used
as manuals for particular application (they should have their own upstream
documentation). Ubuntu is not licensed under GPL so I don't see any reason
why Ubuntu documentation has to be licensed under the GPL.

The bigger issue is what outside sources can we share (both ways) with.
There are many sources like Wikipedia, Debian, Ubuntu Forums, etc. from
which we can pull material and who also might want to pull from us. Debian
is the only one of those that regularly uses GPL for documentation (that's
the only reason why the Ubuntu Packaging Guide is GPL). We used to
dual-license under GFDL and CC-By-SA to make it easy for people using our
material but basically makes it impossible for us to incorporate others
(they have to also have a GFDL/CC-By-SA license).

In the end it's all free documentation and it's really a step forward to
have a big publisher allowing the Official Ubuntu Book to have a Free
license. I'll take what I can get ;-)


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