Re: Debian packaging license (was: Re: RFC: DEP-3: Patch Tagging Guidelines).
On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 3:06 AM, Charles Plessy<email@example.com> wrote:
> Le Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 10:58:04AM -0400, Jonathan Yu a écrit :
>> On Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 1:13 AM, Charles Plessy<firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> > we just had a case in the Debian Med packaging team where the upstream author
>> > of software licensed under terms similar to the BSD license got upset to see
>> > the Debian packaging licenced under the GPL, and posted a reminder that GPLed
>> > contributions to his software will not be accepted.
>> Yes, this is precisely why the pkg-perl team usually goes with "same
>> terms as Perl itself" (Artistic | GPL) and whatever the upstream
>> licensing terms are (usually Artistic | GPL but sometimes BSD).
> Hi Jonathan,
> I pushed the logic further and taking advantage of the draft machine-readable
> format for debian/copyright, which in the absence of other mention assumes that
> the copyright statement applies to all files (implicit ‘Files: *’ field), I
> removed mentions about debianization and copyright for my packaging work. This
> effectively releases my work under ‘same as upstream’ conditions.
I think it would be better to copy the stanza, and drop a note that
you'd like the same as upstream conditions. I'm not entirely sure if
one can make that assumption, since Files: applies to most files
(usually only upstream ones) and debian/* ones will be copyright their
authors with all rights reserved unless they say otherwise (per the
> It still leaves uncertainties in case of upstream relicensing, which is why I
> am also tempted by politically correct versions of the WTFPL, like the BOLA
> license: http://blitiri.com.ar/p/bola/
Don't get me wrong, I really like the BOLA. Actually I've collaborated
with Alberto Bertogli on a few things and I think that the "License
Agreement" (though it really isn't much of a license at all) is pretty
nicely written, especially since he's not a lawyer (and just a humble
open source developer).
My concern with BOLA and Public Domain in general is that some
jurisdictions may not recognize it, though that is usually remedied
with a statement like (lifted from one of my modules):
I, the copyright holder of this package, hereby release the entire contents
therein into the public domain. This applies worldwide, to the extent that
it is permissible by law.
In case this is not legally possible, I grant any entity the right to use
this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions
are required by law.
It might be enough that Alberto is a nice guy and I doubt he'd pursue
legal action for his software; but nonetheless it's a concern (maybe
just FUD though). This is an interesting article about public domain,
including issues like copyright vs author's rights in Germany:
I should mention I'm not a lawyer. I'm not all too concerned with
copyright personally, though I do agree it's important to make sure
everything we put in the main archive is DFSG-free. I have chosen to
release a few of my things as Public Domain OR MIT OR (Same terms as
Perl = GPL | Artistic). Note these are Perl modules I'm releasing, so
in the case where there is no notion of Public Domain/disclaimed
copyright, people can use it under the very permissive MIT license, or
the Perl-compatible dual license scheme.
What's wrong with just assigning debian/* to "same terms as upstream"?
-- that way, upstream will be able to integrate your changes at will.
I guess one key is communicating effectively with upstream authors
(better yet, being the upstream author). They don't really *need*
copyright on debian/ files -- the only questionable part is in the
d/patches/* files, and I'm not really sure how copyright works for
Oh, another problem with public domain is that it's not a license, so
there isn't a standard text in common-licenses you can refer to. That
means larger copyright files, which means larger packages (though only
a few KB).
> Have a nice day,
> Charles Plessy
> Debian Med packaging team,
> Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan
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