GNU Free Documentation License

GNU Free Documentation License
GFDL Logo.svg
The GFDL logo
AuthorFree Software Foundation
Latest version1.3
PublisherFree Software Foundation, Inc.
PublishedCurrent version:
November 3, 2008
DFSG compatibleYes, with no invariant sections (see below)
FSF approvedYes
GPL compatibleNo

The GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL or simply GFDL) is a copyleft license for free documentation, designed by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU Project. It is similar to the GNU General Public License, giving readers the rights to copy, redistribute, and modify (except for "invariant sections") a work and requires all copies and derivatives to be available under the same license. Copies may also be sold commercially, but, if produced in larger quantities (greater than 100), the original document or source code must be made available to the work's recipient.

The GFDL was designed for manuals, textbooks, other reference and instructional materials, and documentation which often accompanies GNU software. However, it can be used for any text-based work, regardless of subject matter. For example, the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia uses the GFDL[1] (coupled with the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License) for all of its text.


The GFDL was released in draft form for feedback in September 1999.[2] After revisions, version 1.1 was issued in March 2000, version 1.2 in November 2002, and version 1.3 in November 2008. The current state of the license is version 1.3.[3]

The first discussion draft of the GNU Free Documentation License version 2 was released on September 26, 2006, along with a draft of the new GNU Simpler Free Documentation License.

On December 1, 2007, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced that a long period of discussion and negotiation between and amongst the Free Software Foundation, Creative Commons, the Wikimedia Foundation and others had produced a proposal supported by both the FSF and Creative Commons to modify the Free Documentation License in such a fashion as to allow the possibility for the Wikimedia Foundation to migrate the projects to the similar Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (CC BY-SA) license.[4][5] These changes were implemented on version 1.3 of the license, which includes a new provision allowing certain materials released under the license to be used under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license also.[3]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: GNU-FDL
asturianu: GNU FDL
беларуская: GNU Free Documentation License
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: GNU Free Documentation License
буряад: GNU FDL
eesti: GNU FDL
Frysk: GNU/FDL
ગુજરાતી: જી એફ ડી એલ (GFDL)
Basa Jawa: GFDL
ქართული: GNU Free Documentation License
Māori: GNU FDL
მარგალური: GNU Free Documentation License
Plattdüütsch: GNU-FDL
русский: GNU FDL
саха тыла: GFDL
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Licenca GNU-a za slobodnu dokumentaciju
తెలుగు: GNU Free Documentation License
українська: GNU Free Documentation License
West-Vlams: GFDL
粵語: GFDL