Re: Documenting open source software in product?

Subject: Re: Documenting open source software in product?
From: Sandy Harris <pashley -at- storm -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 11:18:39 -0400


mary -dot- nurminen -at- nokia -dot- com wrote:
>
> I'm working on documenting a product which has a lot of open source software in it.

Be sure someone looks carefully at the licensing issues.

If you distribute software licensed under the GNU project's General Public
License:
http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html
then that license obligates you make source code available, or at least
provide pointers to a site where it can be downloaded. If you distribute
a modified version, you have to make source for your modifications
available too.

There are at least half a dozen other licenses used for Open Source
stuff. GNU have other licenses for libraries and documentation.
Berkeley licenses, Perl uses the "Artistic License", ...

> Have you provided links to any possible documentation available in the web
> on that open source software?

Of course you should do that, including links to docs not in the
actual package -- e.g. FAQs or things from the Linux Documentation
Project (www.tldp.org).

> Or have you produced original material on the software in question?

If you do that, I suggest doing it separately from the documentation
for your actual product, and under an Open Source license. Contributing
docs to an Open Source project is excellent public relations for any
company that wants the Open Source folks as customers. Also, it may
help relations with the developers. You become a Contributor, part of
the Team, not just a (l)user.


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References:
Documenting open source software in product?: From: mary.nurminen

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