Debian considers GNU FDL conditionally free

March 16th, 2006

The Debian project has decided that documents distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL) are considered free with regards to the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) if they don't contain any unmodifiable parts.

This decision has been been reached by a general resolution in which all Debian developers had the opportunity to cast a ballot. 369 Debian developers have taken part in this vote and the majority of them considers documents released under the GNU FDL suitable for the main Debian archive as long as they don't contain unmodifiable sections.

This decision relaxes the former interpretation of this situation, after which all documents distributed under the GNU FDL had to be removed from the archive. Some of them may be kept in the archive.

This vote has effect for the upcoming release of "etch" since this outcome results in the need for many developers to check documentation for unmodifiable parts. However, much documentation may be kept in the main Debian archive even if it is licensed under the GNU FDL.

Details

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