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Re: Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

On Sun, 2009-03-22 at 12:11 +0000, Noah Slater wrote:
> Firmly in my mind is the cost/benefit of this extra effort. If we
> succeed in integrating debian/copyright checks into lintian, or dpkg
> and it's front-ends, it seems reasonable to imagine that this effort
> would be a good trade-off.

I have been reading this discussion a bit and I've been wondering what
use-case you actually have for machine-readable debian/copyright files.

FTP masters have indicated that they don't care about the format. This
seems logical because they don't "trust" what the maintainer put in
debian/copyright and need to review the source by hand anyway.

As a package maintainer I don't see much benefit for my work with this
new format. My packages are extremely simple when copyright is concerned

As a user I hardly ever look at /usr/share/doc/*/copyright. If the
package is in main I consider that enough information for just using it.

If I'm developing software and I want to use another piece of software
(e.g. library, framework or component) I check the license (I don't care
about the copyright holders btw.) and perhaps sometimes I check the
copyright file but most of the time I just check what upstream put on
their website. For these seldom uses a common format or tools wouldn't
help me much.

So for me debian/copyright is mostly a write-only file.

I can understand there may be benefits of a parsable format but I don't
directly see enough gain. On the other hand there seems to be a lot of
(perceived) cost involved (maintainer work).

This means that if you want to introduce a new format you have to
convince the maintainer of a package that there is some benefit, be it
in tools that make their life easier or some concrete benefit for our

Anyway, thanks for the work on the format. To me it seems to probably be
a good thing. I hope this mail wasn't too negative.

-- arthur - adejong@debian.org - http://people.debian.org/~adejong --

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