On Mon, Aug 8, 2022 at 4:58 AM Florian Weimer <fweimer(a)redhat.com> wrote:
What should we do here?
In the CC0 context, it was mentioned that Fedora considers restrictions
on modification acceptable for documentation licenses. Wouldn't this
make the updated IEEE license acceptable as well? Or is a total ban on
modified redistribution going too far?
Fedora makes a licensing policy distinction between "documentation"
and "content". This is not new; I think it goes back to Fedora's
earliest efforts to formulate licensing policy. I think the original
policy, though this was not explicitly stated, was that documentation
licenses had to meet the FSF's standards for _libre_ documentation
licenses. In seeking a way to define this in a way that is not tied to
FSF policy in this area (which itself is actually unclear), we recast
There were a few recent threads on this list where I showed how I was
struggling to re-describe Fedora's existing policy on documentation
licenses. As we explain it now, documentation licenses are basically
subject to the same strict standards as licenses in general (including
licenses covering code); in particular they must allow modification
with only software-freedom-consistent reasonable conditions. A few
important exceptions are now noted for licenses that historically have
been widely used for documentation in FOSS projects and which I think
have all been regarded as libre by the FSF (CC-BY-SA, CC-BY, GFDL, OPL
without so-called 'options'). These licenses have some (or, in the
case of GFDL, potentially a lot of) terms in them that would never be
tolerated for a license for code, so they have to be explicitly carved
out. However, none of these licenses flat-out prohibits modification.
The well established policy in Fedora was that licenses for 'content'
can prohibit modification but can contain no other (non-FOSS)
restrictions. In the recent reformulation of Fedora licensing policy
we added that content licenses can also contain a "no patent license"
clause of the sort seen in CC0 and ODbL. Depending on how you look at
it, we are either preserving the old policy or relaxing it by
explicitly allowing licenses with no-patent-license clauses. CC0 is
being reclassified from being 'allowed' generally to only being
allowed for content. I am not currently aware of any Fedora package
using CC0 for documentation and I'm not sure what we'd do if we find
that such a package exists.
In response to this thread I added the 2017 IEEE license to the Fedora
License Data repository a few weeks ago giving it "not-allowed"
So as to what to do,
Should we remove content that uses this updated IEEE license from
The assumption here is that this covers some material in man pages and
that man pages are properly classified as 'documentation'.
So, I think the options are:
* Remove whatever is covered by the updatd IEEE license from Fedora
* try to convince IEEE to change the license (given that IEEE had an
acceptable license in the past this seemed like a possibility)
* someone can argue that a special usage exception should be applied
to some uses of this license
* someone can argue that classifying this license as 'not-allowed' is
wrong under current policy
* someone can argue that the current policy should be changed