Re: Status of Debian Policy
> TOPIC 8: packages have to specify their source urls
> STATUS: DISCUSSION
In addition to what you propose below, I think that "dpkg -I" should be
concerned with some of that info. Specifically, three important fields are
Author: name and email of main upstream author (copyright holder)
License: code describing license type
Original-Site: site/URL at which the package is originally stored
The "Author" field I think is important for giving due credit to whom
rightfully deserves it. Some novice Debian users might think that the
maintainer mentioned in "dpkg -I" is the author or the upstream maintainer.
That is convenient for having users contact the Debian maintainer instead
of bypassing them for the upstream author. However, I am convinced it is not
fair for the "real authors" to create this confusion. Once the package is
installed, users can check who the real author is, but they should be able
to know it from the beginning.
The License field shoud be a code taken from a list like the following:
GPL LGPL BSD Artistic: we know what they are
PD: public domain
Freeware: free use and redistribution, according to Debian policy (this will
be used only for packages which do not follow any of the types given
Non-Free: does not comply with Debian definition of free software
We could even go further and specify the type of non-free license.
Common types are:
packages containing sources
Non-Commercial: free use and redistribution for non-commercial purposes
Academic: free use and redistribution for academic/research purposes
Non-Commercial-Academic: combination of previous types
Source-Shareware: redistribution allowed, but payment for use expected
Tidyware: free use, redistribution only in original form or if approved
packages without sources
Crippleware: crippled functionality, fully functional version must be purchased
Demoware: time-bombed fully functional program
Shareware: redistribution allowed, payment for use expected
Promotional: free use for only some people or for some time only, or due to
blatantly promotional reasons (like MSIE)
Shyware: free use and redistribution of binaries, sources not available
because author considers them still alpha.
I don't think there are many more types. The precise terms should be available
in the "copyright" file, but since most packages would fall in one of
the previous categories, it would be really useful to have that shown
in a concise way before installing a package.
The "Original-Site" field could be optional, since it is not that necesary to
know it in normal cases. Of course, it should always be mentioned in
the "README.debian" file, as you propose.
In summary, I think that at least the "Author" field should be added for
ethical reasons and it would be convenient to add the "License" field.
If you agree that this should be part of Debian policy then we should
have the "dpkg" authors implement it.
> It has been proposed that all packages should include some information
> about where to get the upstream sources. Thus, I propose that we list
> all pieces of information we want to have included in the
> ``/usr/doc/*/README.debian'' files.
> If we have a consensus about this, we could include a ``good example''
> for a ``/usr/doc/*/README.debian'' file.
> I propose that the following infos are listed in this file:
> - Name and email address of current Debian maintainer
> - specification about where to get the upstream sources
> - short description of all major changes to the program
> (for example, new command line options, changed locking
> mechanism, major bug fixes, etc.)
> - URL of ``official home page'' if there is one (optional)
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