There might be some licensing problem in principle when converting a TeX-SE answer to a package: is LPPL compatible with whichever licence these guys use? (Not that I care, I just stumbled upon that.) meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/3646/…
Over at http://tex.stackexchange.com we've found a few really nice questions and answers centred around a particular package (which happens to be for drawing diagrams in TeX, but that's not relevant). A lot of the resulting answers fall in to the "This should be better known" category so a group...
Much of the code is based on answers that I, Caramdir, or Martin have given (and I think that Jake would be happy too) so I don't think that getting permission would be difficult, but it would be nice to know what we have to do versus what is polite to do.
Copyright stays with the original author, so we can bypass the license issue by asking each author to relicense their code to us in LPPL (or whatever, LPPL isn't listed as one of the automatically allowed licenses on launchpad so we might be asked to change to GPL or something like that).
Which authors do we have? Caramdir, Jake, Martin, Altermundus, Andrew (me), Ulrich Schwarz, Alan Munn. Not so many that formally asking for permission isn't a bad way to go.
CC-BY-SA is incompatible with GNU (see the FSF compatibility list); it might be incompatible with the LPPL, certainly the Creative Commons team haven't been willing to commit themselves on this point. I guess you would need to spend lots more money on lawyers than makes sense to sort this out.
@AndrewStacey I guess you will be surprised at how long getting permission takes.
@CharlesStewart: Thanks for both the comments. The little bit of reading that I've done suggests that CC isn't a great license for software. One thing about this project is that it can be done cumulatively in that we can start work on those bits where we have permission to relicense it, and add more stuff in as and when we get permission.
@CharlesStewart: Frankly, I'd be happy to blanket relicense all my contributions to this site in such a fashion that whatever free license the repackager used, it would be compatible. I'd also waive attribution (whilst still asking for it to be there if possible) since it can be tricky to figure out exactly where that attribution has to go. If someone can suggest the wording whereby that would work, I'd happily add it to my user profile, or some meta question that others who also agree ...
... could "sign" by adding their names to an answer.
@AndrewStacey CC-WIKI isn't a good license for software, since it doesn't say anything about the legal status of code compiled from it. But for the purposes of examples, I don't think this is a problem.
@CharlesStewart CC stil only makes sense for something that would be more like a document of compiled examples, though. Not for code for which the relevant author doesn't want in an LPPL package. (Although I really think this situation is an extremely unlikely one.)
@AlanMunn CC is a fairly lousy license for software, but what it asks of people who receive the code is basically comprehensible. For the purposes of runnable example code it is fine. For the purpose of end-user reuse, I'd say it is OK as well. If the code starts to be reused a lot, then new code serving the same use can be written.
@Caramdir: I also got one by Alan Munn in my list of answerers.
We should formally ask them for permission to use their code under LPPL. But what do you think of my idea above of a blanket release? I'd quite like this refactoring to be a common thing on this site, and I'm sure that most people wouldn't mind their code going in to a package but asking every time would quickly get tiresome. So we could have a question on meta saying, "We, the undersigned, agree to relicense our code submitted to this site under any of the free licenses acceptable to ...
@Caramdir What's wrong with simply that? All the licenses have a warranty get-out which say, "If I can't actually legally do this, then it isn't done" so still the onus is on us to be "right" with the law, but this is effectively saying that they, the authors, aren't going to cause us any trouble. Most free licenses allow double licensing, since none (other than public domain) actually waive copyright.
To use this license, place in each of the components of your work both an explicit copyright notice including your name and the year the work was authored and/or last substantially modified. Include also a statement that the distribution and/or modification of that component is constrained by the conditions in this license.
So, I don't know what happens if you only put the statement somewhere central.
However, I wouldn't worry to much about it, since the code is usually only very small and will usually be refactored anyway.
@AndrewStacey Alan is listed under “a few variations on the \tikzmark idea by several people”. I don't think we have to ask everyone who ever had that idea (or copied the idea).