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You are here: Home FSF News Discussion draft of new GNU Free Documentation License released

Discussion draft of new GNU Free Documentation License released

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Sep 26, 2006 02:02 PM

BOSTON, September 26, 2006--The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today released the first discussion draft for version 2 of the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). In addition to being the official documentation license of the GNU Project, the GFDL is used by many other free documentation projects, including Wikipedia.

Accompanying this revision release of the GFDL is a new companion license, called the GNU Simpler Free Documentation License (GSFDL).

This release marks the beginning of a public discussion and review process, with the goal being the production of the best free documentation licenses possible. The FSF has invited everyone to read the new drafts and contribute comments at

The new license texts have wording intended to improve internationalization, to allow for easier excerpting and distribution, and to be more clear about their application to media formats other than text.

Documentation licenses exist because free manuals are essential for free software. But the GFDL and GSFDL are not limited to software documentation. While the FSF recommends these licenses "principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference," they state clearly in Section 0 of each license that each can be used for "any work of authorship meant for human appreciation, rather than machine execution."

The GFDL 1.1 was released in 2000. It was revised and released in 2002 as version 1.2.

Media contact:

Brett Smith
Compliance Engineer
Free Software Foundation

About the FSF

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software--particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants--and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software. Their Web site, located at, is an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support their work can be made at Their headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA

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