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Re: Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

On Sun, 22 Mar 2009 12:16:10 +0000
Noah Slater <nslater@tumbolia.org> wrote:

> On Sun, Mar 22, 2009 at 11:35:02AM +0000, Neil Williams wrote:
> > IMHO it is about not getting hung up on the process but considering the
> > reasoning behind the process. AFAICT, there is no good reason to
> > document every single copyright holder but there are very good reasons
> > to document every applicable LICENCE.
> >
> > As a sponsor, I do *not* require that every single copyright holder is
> > listed in debian/copyright. I *do* require that every file in the
> > source package has been checked for the applicable LICENCE and that all
> > such LICENCES are declared in debian/copyright along with clear
> > identification of which files use which licence. Where there is a clear
> > division between copyright holders and licences, I would expect that
> > the sections of debian/copyright dealing with files under that licence
> > specify that the files are Copyright foo rather than Copyright bar
> > that applies elsewhere. If some names and / or email addresses fall
> > through the gaps, so be it.
> This seems entirely reasonable.
> If we can include copyright holder names without much trouble then I think we
> should out of courtesy, but I shouldn't imagine that it must be a requirement.
> There is no reason why you couldn't adopt this approach with the proposal.

At last, some sanity. Thanks.

By allowing for the listings of names and email addresses to be based
on a) clear divisions between licences and b) courtesy for the rest, we
can avoid the majority of the workload for maintainers of large
packages where the licence changes infrequently but the contributors
change frequently. In the vast majority of cases, the AUTHORS file will
be packaged anyway and if a copyright holder isn't listed in AUTHORS, it
is up to the copyright holder to decide whether that is something
he/she wants to raise with upstream, not with Debian.

In practice, at least as far as my own experience, an explicit listing
in AUTHORS is *granted* by your peers in the upstream team, not
requested, usually on the basis of the scope and importance of your
contribution(s). Hence the rider at the end including anyone else not
specifically listed already.

I really do think Debian should leave such decisions to the upstream
team - we don't really have a need to add new listings to what already
exists in the upstream package and listing people who are not
considered as "core developers" or who upstream do not consider to
have made significant amounts of copyrighted contributions, is
pointless effort for no gain. (Other than the vanity of those people,
but then they are better off making more contributions upstream so that
they earn a listing in AUTHORS directly.)


Neil Williams

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