Using GNU FDL
by Richard Stallman
If you know someone who is writing a manual about free software,
and looking towards commercial publication, you have a chance to help
the Free Software Movement a great deal with a small amount of work:
by suggesting the idea of publishing the manual under
the GNU Free Documentation
Until recently, commercial book publication almost always implied a
nonfree book. But just as free commercial software has been
increasing for a while, now free commercial documentation is starting
to take off as well. Some of the major commercial publishers of
documentation about the GNU/Linux
system, and about free software in general, are now willing to
publish books under the GNU FDL, and pay the authors in the usual
way—IF the authors are firm about this.
But publishers are likely to first propose an ordinary proprietary
book. And if the authors agree, that's what it will be. So it is
essential for authors to take the lead; to say, “We want to use
the GNU FDL for this book”. So when your friend mentions
writing a manual, you can influence the course of events simply by
pointing out this possibility.
If a publisher rejects the request at first, the GNU Project may be
able to help the authors prevail. They can contact us
other legitimate free documentation licenses, but sometimes using
them requires care. For example, one license is equipped with two
optional clauses that can be enabled; the license is free if neither
optional clause is used, but enabling either of them makes the book
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html.) Authors that want
to publish free documentation, but using a license other than the GNU
FDL, can contact us so we can check that the license really qualifies
for free documentation.
When a commercial manual is free and relates to the GNU system, the
GNU Project can recommend it to the public. So if the authors or
publisher set up a web page to describe it and/or sell copies, we can
make a link to that page from www.gnu.org/doc/other-free-books.html,
provided the page meets our usual criteria (for instance, it should
not link to other pages about nonfree software or documentation, and
should not be obnoxious about trying to persuade people to buy).
<email@example.com> about such pages.
See also Free Software and Free