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RFC: Copying control field.

Hi people,

I'd like to have some feedback about adding a new control field to
list the package (overall) copyright.

The purpose is, from my POV, to let user quickly know if a package has
a widely used copying policy, such as GPL, rather than some `obscure'
(i.e. less widely used) one.  Thus the field should take values from
some `standard' set like {GPL, LGPL, BSD, Artistic, ..., Other} (i.e.,
{/usr/doc/copyright} plus `Other').

This would allow users to check themselves `obscure' copying policies
if they want to (i.e., being DFSG or not is an important criterion,
but I tend to value GPL software more than non-GPL equivalent, and
would benefit from a quick way to tell it).

Users could also tell dpkg front-ends like dselect or apt to sort
packages in each section according to their preferred choice of
copying policy, which would be a delightful thing to have, I think.

As an aside, tools like lintian could check that packages having, say
`Copying: GPL', mention `/usr/doc/copyright/GPL' in their
`/usr/doc/<package>/copyright' file, and make sure that it doesn't
duplicate copying information unnecessarily.

It will also allow Debian-wide statistics to be more easily extracted
about how many package are GPL'd, how many use BSD, and so on.

Please, CC replies to this message, and feel free to discuss it on
another mailing list if there is one more appropriate than -devel.


Davide G. M. Salvetti -- IW5DZC

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