Eskild Hustvedt

When free isn't good enough: pushing free software authors away

Quite recently there has been a policy change in the free software host Savannah. Now it is no longer good enough to license documentation under the GNU General public license anymore. You either license it under the GNU free documentation license or a compatible license or take your code somewhere else! They do allow dual-licensing, but that IMHO isn’t good enough. Having two different licenses complicates matters for users (COPYING_GPL, COPYING_FDL?) where complication is not really needed. According to the debian free software guidelines/social contract the FDL isn’t even allowed into Debian main, see for a draft of Debian’s statement to this or for the FAQ covering this topic.

What this can do in my opinion is push people towards Which means that they (the FSF) are essentially pushing people away from free software (Savane) towards non-free software (SourceForge). This is imho a classic example of humans thinking they have more power than they have, or possibly feeling more of an urge to control. It is sad.

When I first said I wanted to blog about this the response I got was that I better not or I will be shut out of the savannah IRC channel or they will close it down completely. Threats does NOT work! However, now you can read it on their website too, so it really is no secret.

Now this is not the only place I disagree with the GNU-project. I for instance hate info-manuals, so my projects could not have become parts of the GNU project anyway, so let me license my documentation under my chosen free software license (GPL), thank you very much.

I, for one, will register my new projects at Gna! in the future (they have subversion too, so it might have an advantage other than licenses too). Gna! is a free alternative to Savannah.