There are a lot of different open documentation licenses. Just like open
source license they range from very permissive licenses that are very
much like the BSD license to fairly restrictive license that are much
like the GPL. In fact the FSF has the Free Documentation License (FDL)
that is very much like the GPL. Or, it is possible to place the
documentation in the public domain.
I recommend anyone considering using the GFDL for any purpose read:
I read through the position statement and I liked what it said. I
particularly like this part about the what it means for a document to be
Freedoms for Documentation
Analogous to the software program freedoms, we need to articulate the
freedoms required for the subset of software called documentation.
1. The freedom to read the text, for any purpose.
2. The freedom to study how the text is written, and adapt it to
your needs. Access to the text in the preferred form for
modification is a precondition for this. This includes the
ability to modify the work to fit in low memory situations,
reference cards, PDA's, embedded devices, etc.
3. Freedom to reformat the document into a preferred format or
medium (converting to braille, or speech, or hardcopy, or
4. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your
5. The freedom to improve the text, and release your improvements
to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to
the preferred form for modification is a precondition for this.
For program documentation, this implies being able to change the
documentation to reflect the changes in the program.
6. Freedom to translate the text into any other language.
7. The freedom to keep your modifications, or even your possession
of a copy of the text, confidential.On Wed, 2004-08-11 at 16:53, Glenn Maynard wrote:
On Wed, Aug 11, 2004 at 04:26:38PM -0500, Bob Pendleton wrote:
I don’t use SDL much, now, and so don’t plan on contributing to the Wiki,
so don’t weigh my opinion as a contributor–I’m only aiming to make people
aware of the serious issues with this license before it’s applied to more
I would recommend using the same license on documentation as the code itself;
this simplifies things substantially, and avoids license compatibility issues
between code and documentation; for example, allowing inclusion of code from
the library in the documentation if useful for demonstration.