Xfce Documentation Licensing

Greetings!  I hope everyone has been enjoying their summers, and that things are progressing along smoothly with the 9.10 release cycle.  I want to share a brief note regarding Xfce documentation licensing with the hopes that others could provide some additional points for us to consider.

Before I do that, though, let me pause to reflect on the fact that I haven’t updated this blog since the month of May.  In the words of a wise master, "Sorry, I’ve been trying to think of stuff to put here."

Back to considering documentation, though.  Per my post to the Xfce developer mailing list, I have proposed that any newly-written Xfce end-user documentation be licensed under the Creative Commons CC-by-SA 3.0 Unported license.  This would be a change from the documentation’s current license of GPL v2.

My post to the mailing list covers several of the advantages of using a CC-by-SA 3.0 license for end-user documentation, but I’m hoping to get some additional input on items that we may want to consider as part of making such a switch.  For example:

  • Although the CC-by-SA 3.0 license would apply to new content, what qualifies as "new content," when some of our content may include instructing users where to click to perform certain actions? Certainly, a good portion of this language may remain the same in such cases.
  • Is it possible to license code snippets under the GPL, while the rest of the documentation is licensed as CC-by-SA 3.0?  If the answer to that question is, "Yes," would a GPL-specific notice need to be provided alongside the code sample, or could the GPL notice be provided in a less visually-obtrusive spot within the documentation? (As a note, I don’t forsee a great deal of code samples within the end-user system documentation, but I want to make sure we have our bases covered in this regard.)
  • What else might the group need to consider as part of making such a switch?

Thus far, the reception to using CC-by-SA 3.0 has been good amongst the developers, and several of them have already indicated a willingness to relicense their GPL v2 documents as CC-by-SA 3.0.  That, combined with the fact that I think contacting any existing Xfce documentation contributors would be much easier than in larger projects, leads me to think that re-licensing existing content isn’t out of the picture, either.

I know that a number of other projects have recently made a switch to CC-by-SA 3.0, though, so I am hopeful that I’ll be able to get some good input from others, and we can get this settled in short order.  Thanks very much!