[darcs-users] proposal: license darcs wiki as CC-BY 3.0

Eric Kow kowey at darcs.net
Mon Sep 13 19:14:54 UTC 2010

Hi everybody,

One little voice that's been nagging at me for a while is that we ought
to sort our wiki licensing for the future.

We've been going the head-under-sand route, but I worry that this will
have some kind of adverse impact in the future when/if we start to add a
lot more serious documentation, a revamped user manual or a Darcs Book.
I think it may be good to have some sort of clear and explicit
permission for re-use so that people can use our stuff with confidence.
Uncertainty-induced inertia would be a bad thing.

I propose that we add some variant of the following text to the wiki

  Content created after 2010-09-30 is available under a Creative Commons
  Attribution 3.0 license [1].  See License for content created prior to
  that date.

The License page [2] is intended to help with prior content: here,
authors can explicitly authorise their past changes to be available
under the same terms (or public domain if they want).

I find it slightly unfortunate for the footer text be so complicated.
To simplify it to just say we're using a CC license, I'd need to know
more about how one goes about about (re)licensing a wiki from basically
no specified terms to something explicit.  The route I suggest is what I
think to be a conservative one in the absence of better research.  For
what it's worth, of the 5491 patches in the wiki:

 - 1575 are created by anonymous users (from the Moin era)
 - 2174 are by me
 - 1344 are by around twenty people with 10 contributions or more
 -  398 are by around 170 people with fewer than ten contributions

So maybe we have some hope of just outright relicensing it if we can
contact everybody and get them to OK the switch?  This partly depends on
whether or not it's "safe" to just relicense the 1575 anonymous
contributions from the past.  From a practical standpoint it seems like
there is little risk of such an action coming back to haunt us in the
future, but then again, prudence is a good thing...  Thoughts?

As for the choice of license, I don't have any strong feelings on the
matter, but I was hoping for something

 * simple
 * permissive
 * widely known/recognised/understood (no need to think about it)
 * written by real lawyers

Basically, whatever reduces friction in the long term.

If I don't hear any objections or words of caution by Friday, I'll
assume I have your blessing to proceed with the suggested changes.  In
the meantime, maybe you could add yourself to the license page below.



[1] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
[2] http://wiki.darcs.net/License

Eric Kow <http://www.nltg.brighton.ac.uk/home/Eric.Kow>
For a faster response, try +44 (0)1273 64 2905 or
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