[coreboot] Coreboot wiki: what license is the content under?

Martin Roth gaumless at gmail.com
Tue Mar 21 23:39:17 CET 2017

So from the start, I just want to say that I'm not arguing just to
argue - I want to make sure we pick the correct license here.  I'm not
really opposed to BY-SA, but I'm not sure I see the benefit to saying
that coreboot's documentation can only be shared under that particular
version of that particular license.

>> Is there a reason we shouldn't switch to CC BY 4.0?
> Arguably, yes: doing so would permit the use of Coreboot wiki material
> in proprietary works, which some wiki contributors might be opposed
> to.

Ok, but does that make it the right choice for coreboot?  If *SOME*
contributor to the wiki wanted a penny for anyone who used their
documentation, should we write that into the license?  Is picking BY
over BY-SA actually going to prevent anyone from contributing?  It
seems like it PREVENTS distribution, since we need to pick the exact
version of the license selected by other sites so that we can share
documentation between them.

> It would also prevent importing material from Wikipedia or Stack
> Exchange into the Coreboot wiki.

Wouldn't selecting CC BY-SA 4.0 also prevent that, if they're licensed
at CC BY-SA 3.0?

>> How much of the coreboot documentation is
>> applicable anywhere else?
> That remains to be seen. As Coreboot grows in popularity, its
> documentation is likely to be more widely applicable.

This also seems like an argument for CC BY over CC BY-SA.

>> - Do we really care what Stack Exchange or any other group is using?
>> How much are we copying from them?
> At the moment, I don't know of any Coreboot wiki content that was
> copied from SE or Wikipedia. This is probably just as well, because
> such material would be in breach of its license ;)
> But as Coreboot becomes more popular, the likelihood increases that
> someone might post an answer on SE, or a description on Wikipedia,
> that is good enough that it is worth including it (either verbatim or
> appropriately edited) in the Coreboot wiki. For such inclusion to be
> possible, the Coreboot wiki's license obviously needs to be compatible
> with SE's license and Wikipedia's license.

I guess I dislike this as a reason for choosing our license.  If some
future Stack Exchange replacement comes along using a different
license, what then?  We're stuck with what we've already picked.

> As an aside: it is certainly possible in principle to dual-license (or
> even triple-license, etc) the Coreboot wiki's content. So, Coreboot
> could, for instance, decide to use CC BY-SA 3.0 *and* GFDL, with the
> licensee allowed to choose whichever they prefer. On the plus side,
> this would avoid the community having to choose between them (i.e. it
> avoids the "versus" aspect of the discussion you linked to). On the
> down side, it would prevent bi-directional compatibility with SE, as I
> pointed out here:
> https://www.coreboot.org/pipermail/coreboot/2017-March/083614.html .

I'm fine with people dual licensing individual documents, the same as
we allow someone who creates a new file to choose to license it in
ways other than GPLv2, but I'd like to have a single license that
governs the coreboot documentation as well.  Maybe that's not needed,
I'm not sure.  It seems like we want to be able to say though "By
contributing documentation here, you agree that contributions are
licensed as X".

I guess we also need to be careful about copying code into the
documentation as well, since it seems like nothing's compatible with
pulling GPL code into it.  At least CC BY allows you to pull the
documentation into the code if there were ever a reason we wanted to
do that.


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