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

David Hendricks david.hendricks at gmail.com
Tue Mar 28 23:39:47 CEST 2017

This would be a good topic to bring up in the next community chat.

On Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 1:21 PM, Sam Kuper <sam.kuper at uclmail.net> wrote:
> On 21/03/2017, Martin Roth <gaumless at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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.

Do these licenses separate the notions of "proprietary" and
"commercial?" For example, a hardware vendor might wish to sell a
device that uses coreboot and write the manual using some wiki
content. That aligns perfectly with the project and I think we should
strive toward removing legal obstacles for such cases.

AIUI, the GFDL would require the vendor to append or archive the
original wiki article in such cases (assuming >100 copies are made).
It's kind of a silly impediment to impose if we're trying to increase
adoption, IMO.

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

I think the flow usually goes the other way, from coreboot.org to
other places. For cases where it's the opposite direction, we can
still link to Wikipedia or SE rather than reprinting, or perhaps seek
permission from the author to post under the license chosen for

>> - 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.


> 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.

We could just ask the author's permission in those cases, right? While
sub-optimal, I think it could be worth the tradeoff to use the more
permissive license so that we optimize for the general case and then
handle corner cases as needed.

> 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 .

Seems overly complicated IMO. For simplicity's sake it would be nice
to use a single license for coreboot.org that satisfies the most users
and those who strongly disagree can post elsewhere (maybe
libreboot/librecore) and link to it.

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