Subject: Re: For Approval: MN Open Documentation License 1.0
From: John Cowan <>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 18:08:42 -0500

Thorsten Glaser scripsit:

> More info:

The main problem with using the GPL for documentation is that the
requirement to deliver source code in 3a is unreasonable when applied to
printed books, which are "object code" under the GPL.  It would mean that
each book must be accompanied by a CD-ROM (or the like) containing the
whole book, *which must remain with the book at all times*.  You cannot
give or sell the book to anyone if you have lost or damaged the CD-ROM.

3b isn't much better: most people don't want to keep online copies of
the source code for their books publicly available for three years,
not to mention the hassle of mailing people CDs if they request them.

If you want to use the GPL for documentation, at the very least include
a waiver of the source-code requirement for printed copies.

> PS: You might argue that I'm too pessimistic and nobody would
>     sue me over using Wikipedia, but lawyers are chronic liars
>     who rotate the words in your own mouth (damn, should not
>     try to translate idioms to English), that's why I want to
>     be safe.

"Twist" is the idiom you want, not "rotate".

John Cowan
Assent may be registered by a signature, a handshake, or a click of a computer
mouse transmitted across the invisible ether of the Internet. Formality
is not a requisite; any sign, symbol or action, or even willful inaction,
as long as it is unequivocally referable to the promise, may create a contract.
       --Specht v. Netscape