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Thanks to your support, 2015 marks 30 years of the FSF! In the next 30 years, we want to do even more to defend computer user rights. To kick off in that direction, we're setting our highest-ever fundraising goal of $525,000 by January 31st. Read more.

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Why publishers should use the GNU FDL

by Richard Stallman

Can technical writers earn money by writing free documentation for free software? We seriously hope so, and that is the reason for the GNU Free Documentation License.

The GFDL is meant as a way to enlist commercial publishers in funding free documentation without surrendering any vital liberty. The “cover text” feature, and certain other aspects of the license that deal with covers, title page, history, and endorsements, are included to make the license appealing to commercial publishers for books whose authors are paid. To improve the appeal, I consulted specifically with staff of publishing companies, as well as lawyers, free documentation writers, and the community at large, in writing the GFDL.

At least two commercial publishers of software manuals have told me they are interested in using this license. The future is never a sure thing, but the GFDL looks like it has a good chance to succeed in shaping a social system where commercial publishers pay people to write commercial free manuals for free software.

 [FSF logo] “Our mission is to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software, and to defend the rights of Free Software users.”

The Free Software Foundation is the principal organizational sponsor of the GNU Operating System. Support GNU and the FSF by buying manuals and gear, joining the FSF as an associate member, or making a donation, either directly to the FSF or via Flattr.

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