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Bug 44032

Summary: internals documentation is not legally safe to use
Product: gcc Reporter: Jorn Wolfgang Rennecke <amylaar>
Component: otherAssignee: Not yet assigned to anyone <unassigned>
Status: NEW ---    
Severity: blocker CC: gcc-bugs
Priority: P3 Keywords: documentation
Version: 4.6.0   
Target Milestone: ---   
Host: Target:
Build: Known to work:
Known to fail: Last reconfirmed: 2010-05-07 22:31:01

Description Jorn Wolfgang Rennecke 2010-05-07 22:06:07 UTC
Because the internals documentation is distributed under the GFDL, it is not
safe to cut&paste examples or instructions from the documentation when writing
new code in GCC, since that code needs to be released under the GPL.
Documentation that pertains to the modification of a program must come with
a compatible license in order to be usable in a safe manner.
Comment 1 Steven Bosscher 2010-05-07 22:31:01 UTC
Ah, the old argument. But true. GCC internals documentation is almost constantly out of sync with reality because of this. It's been like this for years now and it is an underestimated problem.

Anyway, confirmed. 
Comment 2 Joseph S. Myers 2011-02-22 16:33:34 UTC
Joern, since the GFDL says:

    If your document contains nontrivial examples of program code, we
    recommend releasing these examples in parallel under your choice of
    free software license, such as the GNU General Public License,
    to permit their use in free software.

it ought not be controversial to add a statement that examples of code in the internals manual are also released under the GPL.  I'd advise preparing a patch adding a statement to the effect that

You can redistribute and/or modify examples of program code in this manual under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3, or (at your option) any later version.

and sending the patch to RMS for legal review as well as gcc-patches for technical review.