[debian-mysql] [Fwd: Fwd: MySQL bug on Debian]

Christian Hammers ch at debian.org
Fri Jul 6 16:56:20 UTC 2007

On 2007-07-05 Stefan Hinz wrote:
> Hi Christian,
> > 
> > On 2007-07-04 Stefan Hinz wrote:
> >> I've highlighted the portion that I think should make it possible (and
> >> fully legal) for Debian to distribute the MySQL documentation.
> >>
> >> Let me know if there's anything missing in our legal notice that still
> >> makes it impossible for Debian to distribute our docs! Otherwise, I'd
> >> appreciate if you could replace that nasty message in Debian with our
> >> (always up to date) man pages! :-)
> > 
> > It would probably permit Debian to distribute the man pagages *legally*
> > but if you read the Debian Free Software Guidelines¹ then you understand
> > that it cannot be considered as "free software" - or free documentation
> > in this case - so our FTP masters, who guard the archives license-wise,
> > would reject it even if I would package it.
> I'm sorry to hear that. From reading the guidelines I get the impression
> that they cover only software and regard documentation as an implicit
> part of software, which is probably why the problem with MySQL's "dual"
> licenses (GPL for software, regular copyright for the docs) arises.

Like the GPL it was coined for software originally but its regulary
applied to documentation, too. E.g. there was a very long discussions on
how to work with the GNU Free Documentaion License and it's several 
possible restrictions.

> > But as soon as 5.1 loses its -beta tag it will move from experimental
> > into the main Debian branch. Maybe it's time enough to change the MySQL
> > license until then... 
> The reason we're not making the docs "free" is that many people try to
> adorn themselves with borrowed plumes by putting the MySQL Manual on
> their web sites. That alone wouldn't be bad, but guess what: they never
> update it. Since we're updating the Manual multiple times *per day* this
> leads to many outdated copies out there.
> So the people who (ab)use the MySQL Manual this way get all the credits
> (in the form of page views and Google ad revenues), and we get all the
> discredits (in the form of bad marketing, or even users complaining that
> "our" docs are outdated). With our current license, we can at least try
> to stop them.
> I'm not sure how a compromise would look that would work for both Debian
> and us. If you have an idea, please let me know!

Ask yourself why a user would go anywhere else for the MySQL docs than to
mysql, especially if the other sites use Google Ads as you say.

* Link the BTS with the docs. If I look up from_unixtime() it would be nice
  to see that e.g. some versions had a bug there and I should simply upgrade.
* Advertise: "100 lines added in the last 7 days, come here for the only
  true manual"
* If Google does not find mysql docs, improve the keywords and let other
  pages link to your docs
* Offer a really good and fast search engine. Maybe let the user limit
  his search to e.g. functions, APIs, mailing lists...
* I'm automatically "logged in" on your page. It could show me my most often
  visited pages or something like that. I'm mostly looking up functions,
  other people maybe mostly C API calls. So offer that as quick links
* Let me set Bookmarks for my favourite pages! 
* Add "see our recent presentation/whitepaper <here>" links on e.g. the
  InnoDB or Falcon chapter pages.
* Be hones, print "Browse our docs to support free MySQL with Google Ads"
  (but don't annoy users with ads!). 



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