Older help, which is usually written in DocBook was often written under the GFDL license. The Documentation Team decided that this license was not free enough because some of the terms are difficult to comply with. With the advent of GNOME 3, much of the user help needed to be rewritten for the new UIs. This opportunity was taken to switch to using Mallard instead of DocBook and the CC-by-SA license instead of the GFDL. It is quite a lot of effort to relicense the older help because many of the contributors are no longer contactable and relicensing requires every contributor who has ever touched the help to agree to this. This means that the easiest method of relicensing DocBook help is to rewrite it from scratch in Mallard. If you are doing this, try not to look at the old help so that you do not contaminate yourself.
New, Mallard, help is also occasionally written without a license. This is generally much easier to license because it would have been written since 2010, so most of the contributors are likely to still be active.
How to relicense
- Create a patch which changes the license to CC-by-SA 3.0
File a bug on bugzilla
- Upload the patch and CC all the relevant people
git shortlog --email help/C/ will give you a list of authors (with email addresses) who have contributed to the help
- The original author needs to save the patch, then run:
git am <patchname>
git format-patch -1 --signoff
- They then need to upload the patch to the bug and obsolete the previous patch
- Each of the original authors needs to repeat the steps for signing off the patch
- Once all the documentation authors have responded, the patch can be committed to master
You now have a public record of the license change so it cannot be challenged. Never change a license without the author's explicit permission.