Why the GPL is wrong for documentation
Posted Mar 17, 2005 2:13 UTC (Thu) by JoeBuck
In reply to: Linux Device Drivers, Third Edition now online
Parent article: Linux Device Drivers, Third Edition now online
You think there are no problems with applying the GPL to documentation? OK, here's one. You have a GPLed manual, printed out on paper. You give it to a friend. Is that legal?
Answer: no, unless you jump through some extra hoops. You need to either provide your friend with the source code for the book (LaTex source, DocBook, OpenOffice file, whatever), or you need to give your friend a written offer, good for three years, to provide the source later on whenever he demands it (though you can charge a fee to cover your expenses in doing this).
Even if you want to distribute a PDF, you still need to provide the source, since a PDF is not a preferred form for modification. It will do to put the source on the same FTP or HTTP server.
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