First of all, thank you for your thoughts! This is exactly what I'd
hoped for. :)
On 04/20/2010 10:50 AM, inode0 wrote:
Thanks for this explanation. I see points 2 and 3 above as
reasons in support of the selected license. I'm sort of in the
position of being completely satisfied with this if reason 1 above was
fallout from reasons 2 and 3. If reason 1 was the starting point, I'm
still wondering why there would be a default preference for a
Yeah, the ordering there is closer to "3, 2, 1".
Also, there was the conscious thought that we wanted to:
* avoid issues of contention around default licensing (e.g. "How _dare_
you use this licensing! I didn't realize that would happen?!?")
* motivate individuals who felt the default licensing was too broad to
explicitly choose something more ... finer grained. I certainly think it
is easier to nudge people in that direction than to have a more
restrictive license as the unlicensed default.
* ensure the greatest possible flexibility for future actions and use cases
> When we looked at content licensing, there was a much smaller set
> licenses to consider. We wanted to use a license that was permissive and
> as compatible as possible with other content licensing. That narrowed it
> down pretty quickly to the Creative Commons licenses, and given the fact
> that the wiki had already switched to CC-BY-SA, we decided to go with
> it. The waiver of clause 4d was done when Red Hat Legal determined it
> had the potential, if enacted, to make the work non-free.
Isn't CC-BY-SA copyleft, not permissive, and incompatible with the GPL?
I'm going to defer to Richard on the last point, but I can honestly say,
the fact that CC-BY-SA is copyleft wasn't really a deciding factor. The
biggest factor for me was that it was already in use for much of
Fedora's content (e.g. art, wiki), and was already reasonably accepted
(and presumably, understood).
It was never "okay, we want MIT, what is the content version of MIT". We
wanted to try to address concerns around license proliferation (don't
make a new license), compatibility (ensure that our choice is as
compatible as possible with what is abundantly in use), and
acceptability (will people be able to do what they need to do with the
licensing terms, with the understanding that we may not be able to
predict the range of use cases).
For code, those boundaries are far better understood than content.
One thing I've never been completely clear about is where the
drawn in Fedora regarding what is code and what is content so I'm not
sure if there are edge cases where the CC-BY-SA being incompatible
with the GPL (assuming it is) would be an inconvenience.
Well, we tried to define that in the FPCA, when we say "'Content' means
any copyrightable material that is not Code", because it is simpler to
define what is Code and say that everything else is Content, with the
reserved right of the Fedora Board to classify things that may be less
While not as common, something like the GNU All-Permissive License
seems like it might match your stated goals better in this case and is
really quite similar in spirit to the MIT License selected for code.
It isn't really a general content license but is intended for what is
commonly understood to be documentation included with code.
Eh. I'm not sure it is. I do think that the common areas of content are
worth targeting here, and trying to deal with in a focused manner. I
posit that those areas are:
* wiki pages
I suspect that if pressed, the FSF would agree that the All-Permissive
license (which in Fedora licensing lingo would be "Copyright only") is
not necessarily a good fit for those items, preferring the FDL for docs
and i dunno what for the rest.
After all, we're not proposing to go with Public Domain (or Public
Domain-esque CC-Zero licensing) here, which would arguably be as
permissive as possible.
In the area of content, it has been my experience that contributors in
Fedora are concerned about attribution and reciprocity. They are also
far more likely to not be easily able to explicitly license as part of
the work (think art), and thus, fall into the default licensing
language. From my perspective, using CC-BY-SA is a good fit for that
specific use case.