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Old   November 15, 2009, 11:22
Default Please, just be carefull about document licensing issues...
  #161
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Hi Paul,

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauls View Post
>Especially because OpenFOAM's code is under GPL.

The code license has nothing whatsoever to do with the documentation license.
Then allow me to just give a word of caution: as stated at this gnu.org page about documentation, not all documentation licenses are compatible with the GPL! I feel this might have been forgotten in the documentation project!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauls View Post
>I just hope for the best and am willing to help as I can.

One thing that will certainly help is not to add more confusion to this discussion.
If more people feel that my previous post is just adding entropy to the thread, I will promptly move the excess text to a blog post, to reduce confusion!
(edit: already done, after reading the next two posts)

Best Regards,
Bruno

Last edited by wyldckat; November 16, 2009 at 19:14. Reason: see "edit" comment...
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Old   November 15, 2009, 12:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyldckat View Post
So, my questions are:
  • was the (now closed) ******** Documentation Project made under the GFDL, like openfoamwiki.net is?
  • Did it state that it was unofficial?
  • Did it include the same Trademark section as do the OpenCFD's documents?
  • Did it state:
  • Did it state "documentation done by developers/users using OpenFOAM technology"?
Hi Bruno,

about the trademark: All these points were taken into account. E.g., it was emphasized that the project is a community-driven initiative in the first sentence of the homepage. Further, I have added the disclaimer into the header of the website: "This offering is not approved or endorsed by OpenCFD Limited, the producer of the OpenFOAM software and owner of the OpenFOAM® and OpenCFD® trademarks." Of course, this was also repeated in the legal section of the website. Anyway, this was obviously considered insufficient, claiming a platant trademark infringement.

About the license: Yep, the documentation license was entirely based on the GFDL, too:
Quote:
The License Terms

All FDP Documentation is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License 1.3.

All FDP Documentation may be reproduced and distributed in whole or in part, in any medium physical or electronic, provided that the above license is used throughout. Commercial redistribution is expressly permitted and encouraged. Thirty days advance notice via email to the author(s) of redistribution is appreciated, to give the authors time to provide updated documents.

It is requested that comments be fowarded to the FDP. You are encouraged to create a derivative work (i.e. extend or correct the FDP Documentation) and distribute it provided that all modified documents, including translations, anthologies, and partial documents, meet the following requirements:
  • License the derivative work with the same license (The GNU Free Documentation License 1.3). Include an appropriate copyright notice and at least a pointer to this license.
  • Give due credit to previous authors and major contributors.
It is further requested that
  • all derivative work (in the format such as provided on this Site) is sent to The FOAM Documentation Project.
  • all modifications (including deletions) are noted.
  • the person making the modifications is identified.
  • the location of the original unmodified document is identified.
  • acknowledgement of the original author are retained.
  • the original author (or authors) are notified by email of the modification in advance of redistribution, if an email address is provided in the document.
  • the original author's (or authors') name(s) are not used to assert or imply endorsement of the resulting document without the original author's (or authors') permission.
Moreover, the license terms were approved by the FSF. And all pdf files (documentation) had the following disclaimer (also bold fonts within the pdf):
Quote:
OpenFOAM(R) is produced by OpenCFD(R) Limited (www.opencfd.co.uk) and is freely available and open source, licensed under the GNU General Public License.

The mere mention of a trademark or brand shall not allow the conclusion to be drawn that it is not protected by third party rights. In particular: This offering is not approved or endorsed by OpenCFD Limited, the producer of the OpenFOAM software and owner of the OpenFOAM(R) and OpenCFD(R) trademarks. TEX(R) and AMS(R) are
registered trademarks of the American Mathematical Society (www.ams.org) [...]
About the copyright: The copyrights of all content submitted would have been rested with its author.
Quote:
The copyright in the content of each FOAM Documentation Project (FDP) Document is owned by its author or authors.
Hope this helps to clarify things. At least I do not see what should be confusing if one clearly distinguishes in the above categories when discussing this issue.

best,
Holger
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Old   November 15, 2009, 13:45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyldckat View Post
So, my questions are:
  • was the (now closed) ******** Documentation Project made under the GFDL, like openfoamwiki.net is?
  • Did it state that it was unofficial?
  • Did it include the same Trademark section as do the OpenCFD's documents?
  • Did it state:
  • Did it state "documentation done by developers/users using OpenFOAM technology"?
Yes to all, as Holger clarified already.

I was the first contributor to the project and I think it might help to add my point of view on the conditions of contributions. When Holger asked me to write a document, I accepted because:
  • the initiative was fully open. The documents would have been available to everyone, in a well organized and consistent infrastructure. Holger and I exchanged quite some email to clarify the rights held by the contributors, and what came out was a very transparent and open project, with all the bits required to become a working collaborative initiative.
  • Everybody could contribute, without losing in quality of contributions thanks to the review process.
  • Authorship would have not been hidden. After all it is work I do for free, in my spare time. It seems reasonable to have it recognized. The documentation project required a transfer in the right to distribute the documents, but not a copyright transfer, which remained of the original author. This kind of condition is very fair in my opinion, and protects the interests of all the involved parties.
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Old   November 16, 2009, 19:07
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  #164
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Thank you both for the clarification! Now I understand much better the issues at hand, and the real reason for requiring the fork.

The only thing left that still boggles me, is: why did the rights to distribute need to be transfered?
Quote:
The documentation project required a transfer in the right to distribute the documents, but not a copyright transfer, which remained of the original author.
Doesn't the GFDL already give the right to freely distribute these documents? If it allows free/commercial distribution, as long as the source is made available, then why did the rights to distribute need to be transfered? Isn't that going against the GFDL? Did you check with FSF about this point?
edit: Doesn't this point conflict with this (from here):
Quote:
(...) and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License. (...)
And just a final note (extracted from here), to keep in mind for the future fork:
Quote:
The GNU FDL is incompatible in both directions with the GPL: Material under the GNU FDL cannot be put into GPL code and GPL code cannot be put into a GNU FDL manual.
Best Regards,
Bruno Santos

PS: I've removed the clutter from my first post on this thread, so it can be safe from my ranting

Last edited by wyldckat; November 16, 2009 at 19:12. Reason: Found issue in the GFDL that gives basis to the questions...
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Old   November 16, 2009, 20:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyldckat View Post
Thank you both for the clarification! Now I understand much better the issues at hand, and the real reason for requiring the fork.

The only thing left that still boggles me, is: why did the rights to distribute need to be transfered?
Doesn't the GFDL already give the right to freely distribute these documents? If it allows free/commercial distribution, as long as the source is made available, then why did the rights to distribute need to be transfered? Isn't that going against the GFDL? Did you check with FSF about this point?
edit: Doesn't this point conflict with this (from here):
No it does not conflict. The authors were required to explicitly accept that the owner of the documentation project could redistribute and manage the documents on the website.
It is a normal condition that you usually explicitly ask to accept to contributors to further protect yourself, as manager of the project, and your project. It does not affect in any way the users of the documents, which are clearly only subject to the GFDL.

Best,
Alberto
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Old   November 18, 2009, 17:53
Default Call the bluff
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So......
What if:

An engineer with some respect in the applied industrial CFD community, who doesnt actually use Open Foam, who actually has a lawyer, who kind of enjoys conflict, were to host the forbidden project. From a sever on US soil specifically.

I highly doubt that Henry and Co. have the resources to serve a cease and desist in New York state, though I could be wrong.

And I can't see that contributers would be in anyway hassled if they were willing to not sign there names. Which I realize is a bit of a bummer, and goes against the grain, but this path might bring the developers to the negotiating table

Just a thought

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Old   November 19, 2009, 02:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyR View Post
So......
What if:

An engineer with some respect in the applied industrial CFD community, who doesnt actually use Open Foam, who actually has a lawyer, who kind of enjoys conflict, were to host the forbidden project. From a sever on US soil specifically.

I highly doubt that Henry and Co. have the resources to serve a cease and desist in New York state, though I could be wrong.

And I can't see that contributers would be in anyway hassled if they were willing to not sign there names. Which I realize is a bit of a bummer, and goes against the grain, but this path might bring the developers to the negotiating table

Just a thought

Andy R
I don't know if you want to be provocative or if you seriously think this is a possibility.
How can you build a trustable and reliable project that users will actually be willing to use and contribute to if the initial assumptions are that
  • you are essentially looking for litigations, since you challenge the trademark policy
  • contributors should stay anonymous
---

On a more general line, I think we discussed a lot but this discussion failed at one substantial point: it did not involve the two most important parts of the community: OpenCFD(r) and the developers working on -dev/-extend.

It is quite clear that OpenCFD(r) does not see any concrete problem in the current situation, since the "community" is very disorganized and does not agree on what to do. As a consequence, I am not surprised at all they did not comment or reply in any way.

I am much more surprised by the silence of other parts of the what should be "community" (so they say), and by statements like "we follow the discussion but we do not take part to it". I don't hide I find it childish, since this supposed to be an open project, and in open projects activities are discussed in the open.

I understand it might be difficult to write something in public for someone, but it is how it works if there is an actual interest in building a real cooperative project, which currently is limited.

The current situation is not positive for the long term health of the project itself.

OpenFOAM(r) currently has two major advantages in comparison to commercial products: it is free, and it gives access to the code. Are these points enough? Yes and no. Being free is a huge advantage for sure, since the licenses of commercial CFD software are often very expensive, but this comes to a price too.

OpenFOAM(r) currently is not easily accessible, and the learning curve is very steep, as a consequence, having access to the code is only useful in part, since there is no way you can actually understand all the features by simply reading the code, in a reasonable amount of time.

A company can easily rely on consulting services offered by OpenCFD(r), WIKKI, ICON, at least if they have time to wait eventual code changes necessary for their use-case. The cost is potentially much lower than commercial software licenses.
Academia is in a more complicated situation. The cost of academic licenses is high, but much lower than the full commercial licenses, and there are campus agreements which make software easily available. Moreover there are other points to consider:
  • The learning curve for OpenFOAM(r) is very steep compared to any commercial software, and sometime is is longer than in-house codes, since it requires a very deep knowledge of C++. For this reason, it is hard to use it in CFD courses, since the implementation of algorithms, schemes and other numerical details is hidden. To this purpose, it is much more convenient to use simpler, less general codes, which do not hide the implementation.
  • It is also difficult to use OF for research in some cases: if you develop new models, you usually need a simple framework for preliminary tests. A simple C or Matlab code, depending on the computational effort required, might serve you faster and more reliably for this initial stage. OpenFOAM becomes interesting for a second stage in the implementation of your model in a general use code. Unfortunately, the coding skills required to do the implementation of models in OpenFOAM is quite high, and it does not necessarily is common among graduate students, which should learn fluid dynamics more than C++, at least in my view. It is quite clear that, in spite of the higher difficulty, things would be different with clear training material, documentation and with the possibility to take part to a really cooperative project where people help each other, instead than trying to simply sell consultancy contracts to users who ask questions (also people explicitly identified as students, which makes it quite funny to me).
  • OpenFOAM(r) has the clear advantage that you can use it on clusters without worrying about the number of licenses you have, which is a very important point.
Given these considerations, the major risk OpenFOAM(r) is running is that users will use it "as-is", if it satisfies their needs, without contributing anything, to abandon it as soon as it misses something required for the job the user has to do. It is what happened since the beginning, with some evident exception.
This is, in my view, losing opportunities. For many people in academia, it makes absolutely no difference to use one code or another as long as it provides reliable results. It makes no difference to contribute to an open project, to use their in-house code or a commercial package. They are simply interested in going on with their research activity and publishing. They could easily become contributors to OpenFOAM(r) at no cost, since they already do the work to publish their research. For this to be possible, some conditions have to be satisfied:
  • the learning curve must be lowered. Nobody wants to train graduate students for a long time to learn on how to start to use a package. They should become operative relatively quickly, so that they can concentrate on their actual work, and not on coding aspects
  • the contributions have to be explicitly recognized and easily trackable, or not many will be willing to contribute
On the other hand, OpenFOAM(r) needs these contributions to compete, because it has to fill the gap with commercial packages, and because it is unthinkable to keep the pace with new developments without a network that involves who actually develops the new models. OpenFOAM(r) could be in the privileged position of having models implemented by their authors, which is a non-negligible advantage.

Sorry if the post became too long

Best,
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Old   November 19, 2009, 10:12
Default Enlightened Self Interest
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Alberto,
My intent would not be necessarily to provoke conflict, but instead to provoke dialoge with Henry and Co.

Henry and Co. were able to take advantage of the fact that the documentation project, was being written and hosted by a student with limited resources. The simple threat was enough to shut down the project, in spite of the dubious legal nature of the claim. I think a US court would be unlikely to prevent any " SomeProgram for Dummies" being published, as long as the appropriate tradmark verbiage is included. Perhaps GB is different.

Lets suppose for a moment, that a US research lab that uses OpenFoam had started the documentation project. Would Henry and Co have issued a cease and disist?? No. Because it would not have been in there self interest, and it is unlikely that a conflict with a US govt agency would be resolved in their favor without significant cost to them. So it is likely they would have worked with that project rather than shut it down.

Clearly as end users, it is in this communities self interest to have good documentation. Clearly it is in OF's interest that there is an active community.

I highly applaud the open source community and concept. At home I use Firefox and Thunderbird, and to some extent Open Office. There is a spirit to open source as well as the letter of the law. OF seems to want to have their cake and eat it too. (does that translate??) This simply annoys me.

My 2 cents
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Old   November 19, 2009, 12:43
Default Trademarks in Titles
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See the attached link
It is not stricly germane, but it seems likely that the use of ProductName(R) in a title would NOT be considered a trademark violation

http://www.ladas.com/BULLETINS/2004/..._TMinSong.html

Thats enough lunch hour internet
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Old   November 19, 2009, 12:51
Default OK one more
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At least in the USA it seems likely that the use of XYZ in a web title would be considered "Nomitive Use"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative_use

I bet this applies in the UK as well. So if H&co had issued the cease and desist and the gentleman in question choose to fight it. H&Co would likely have lost. But if he cant afford to fight it..

Abuse of the legal system and other peoples fears really really irritates me.

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Old   November 19, 2009, 16:54
Default To Alberto
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1- Mercedes is the brand name of a luxury car manufactured in Germany
2- Mercedes is a common name given to few new born girls in Spain.

Can any one of us imagine the day that the car maker will sue parents of girls around the world because of the use of a registered trade mark

So what this has got to do with this 9 pages thread.

1- OpenFOAM is a registered trade mark in the UK
2- Foam is a common noun referring to some physical phenomena

Now here is my question to Alberto
What are your objectives ?
1- Creating a documentation project that will be centered around the numerical tool kit known as OpenFOAM, or
2- Creating a web site that has to carry the same name of a registered trade mark.
It sounds more like a family feud sort of, between you and the owners of the trade mark. I hope I am wrong
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Old   November 19, 2009, 19:30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyR View Post
At least in the USA it seems likely that the use of XYZ in a web title would be considered "Nomitive Use"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative_use

I bet this applies in the UK as well. So if H&co had issued the cease and desist and the gentleman in question choose to fight it. H&Co would likely have lost. But if he cant afford to fight it.
Well, frankly if the question becomes "do we want to litigate by legal means?", I say no. It is not a question of being able to afford it or not. It is just not worth the time, the effort, the distress and also the money.

In the end, contributions are voluntary efforts done for free. If they are not well accepted, people will stop contributing and look somewhere else. It is that simple.

Quote:
Abuse of the legal system and other peoples fears really really irritates me.
I agree. Thanks for the additional information you provided on the trademarks. As you probably know, the cease and desist was not issued on "OpenFOAM-documentation" but on "foam-documentation", which is not even registered.

Best,
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Old   November 19, 2009, 21:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahmed View Post
So what this has got to do with this 9 pages thread.

1- OpenFOAM is a registered trade mark in the UK
It is registered in US.

Quote:
2- Foam is a common noun referring to some physical phenomena
The point is that "foam" is considered a short form of the trademark, and it is the actual name used in the final version of the website name.

Quote:
Now here is my question to Alberto
What are your objectives ?
1- Creating a documentation project that will be centered around the numerical tool kit known as OpenFOAM, or
2- Creating a web site that has to carry the same name of a registered trade mark.
My objective was to support the documentation project created by Holger. Your point 1 is correct, your point 2 does not keep since the website did not contain the trademark, and was already clarified many times.

Quote:
It sounds more like a family feud sort of, between you and the owners of the trade mark. I hope I am wrong
Well, I can reassure you that you are wrong.
I have never had any direct relationship with the trademark owners, never worked with them, never went to an OpenFOAM conference or workshop. We know each other by means of the forum and we exchanged some very friendly email to exchange some information in the past. Also, we do not compete, since I work in academia. I actually suggested to some new OpenFOAM(r) user and friends to attend their training courses. As a consequence there cannot be any kind of "family feud".
We disagree on how this situation was managed, but that does not mean there has to be a hidden agenda. Anyway thanks for the question. You are surely not alone to think there is one. I guess that's part of the game of writing my opinions in a public discussion group.
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Old   November 19, 2009, 22:47
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How about free speech ? Give due credit to the trademarks and document whatever you want.
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Old   November 19, 2009, 22:50
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Has anyone here ever visited a bookstore?

Ever been to the how-to section?

Get it?

Stupid.
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Old   November 19, 2009, 23:22
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Could anybody explain me what is the relationship between OpenF... and OpenF...-dev? I've ran some solvers and forgotten to give them appropriate parameters or keys in dictionaries, then solvers gave me errors, and in these errors appeared some paths like .../.../henry/.../openfoam-dev/...
Are the guys from OpenCF... taking from the dev distro or is only a concidence in naming directories???

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Old   November 20, 2009, 01:38
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Quote:
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How about free speech ? Give due credit to the trademarks and document whatever you want.
It has been written many times that Holger gave credit to the trademark. The problem is a bit more complicated than that, as it was already explained.
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Old   November 20, 2009, 14:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alberto View Post
Well, frankly if the question becomes "do we want to litigate by legal means?", I say no.
YOU can't answer the question, what WE want.

Quote:
It is not a question of being able to afford it or not. It is just not worth the time, the effort, the distress and also the money.
The questions is whether we can afford NOT to seek professional assistance. I mentioned before that this discussion is not worth the time needed to read everything. You agree to almost every comment and never come to a decision.

Quote:
In the end, contributions are voluntary efforts done for free. If they are not well accepted, people will stop contributing and look somewhere else. It is that simple.
Do you think anything can prevent authors more from contributing that an unclear future of the project? It is that simple: we need to collect some thousand dollars to enforce the law and show that the community cannot be intimidated by vague accusations.
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Old   November 20, 2009, 17:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauls View Post
The questions is whether we can afford NOT to seek professional assistance. I mentioned before that this discussion is not worth the time needed to read everything.
You keep reading, nobody forces you.

Quote:
You agree to almost every comment and never come to a decision.
What decision would you take from this discussion? Look at it carefully. There were a few positive comment, but no real agreement on the direction to take. Users who could benefit of the documentation effort are not supporting the initiative that much (a couple offered to support it by email). Who could contribute, with some exception, did not write a single line to say what he thinks. Finally, who tried to set the project up is getting some nasty comments. Frankly it does not seem there is any element to reach a positive solution from this situation.

Quote:
Do you think anything can prevent authors more from contributing that an unclear future of the project?
The future of the original project is not under discussion in my opinion. Its developers have their line and projects, and they will follow them. What is under discussion here is the openness of the project. If this were felt as an important factor, I am sure we would have seen different reactions in this discussion. It did not happen: the interest appears to be quite weak.

Quote:
It is that simple: we need to collect some thousand dollars to enforce the law and show that the community cannot be intimidated by vague accusations.
Feel free to do that if you think it is the right thing to do. In my opinion, it is not. There are other ways, as said many times. They have probably more complicate requirements than a few thousand dollars, since they need to build a group and a community, and involve people. But that's the whole point. Without that, the documentation project , as well as other initiatives, do not make any sense.

Best,
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Old   November 21, 2009, 01:41
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Hi Alberto and Paul, I feel bad as I saw the thread keeps growing but without any response from the most important party (OpenCFD(r)), I failed to see there would be solution to this if they keep silence all the way. I'm not going to disappoint you, but you know many of us are but students, I hope some one more influential, some school more influential would join in.

Yes, the learning curve is very very steep, I have to spend more time on certain topics such as fluid dynamics, turbulence than on the C++ codes. I hope the developer would improve at least (the Users' Guide and Programmers' Guide) more even if they think the documentation project is against their core benefit.

Most of the community are young (I'm not referring to age, you know), so I am not surprised to see there's no good, deep and joint agreement on the issue.
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