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making debian/copyright machine-interpretable

   Hello, I would like to gather comments about a proposal I have been
thinking about during the GPLv2/v3 and GPLv2/CDDL discussions. I have
finally written down what I have in mind here, and refined it with the
help of many people on IRC:


   I'll simply repeat the rationale here, so that you know why I feel
this is important. The diversity of free software licences means that
Debian does not only need to care about the freeness of a given work,
but also its licence's compatibility with the other parts of Debian it

   The arrival of the GPL version 3, its incompatibility with version 2,
and our inability to spot the software where the incompatibility might
be problematic is the most recent occurrence of this limitation.

   And there is more to come. The GPL version 3 is compatible with
the CDDL, but the GPL version 2 isn’t. Which means that in the near
future, GPLv2-only software cannot be distributed as part of a CDDL
operating system such as Nexenta. We have no way to know how much of
Debian should be stripped from such a system.

   I therefore would like your opinions about this proposal, its
shortcomings, and a strategy to implement it quickly and as widely as


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