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Re: DEP-5: Please clarify the meaning of "same licence and share copyright holders"

On Thu, Jun 11, 2009 at 09:30:31AM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 11, 2009 at 06:10:56PM +0200, Mike Hommey wrote:
> > If the sole purpose of the format is to have a machine-parseable format,
> > if it doesn't apply to all packages, then the fact that it is
> > machine-parseable is useless, because you won't be able to machine-parse
> > all copyright information from all packages.
> Let's remove all "should"s from policy, then, since evidently anything that
> we don't have 100% compliance with is useless.

Certainly not. However, I do think that anything which does not _aim_
for eventual 100% compliance is useless.

I'm finding it difficult to believe the argument "oh, but this isn't
going to be mandatory". While I can think of a few use cases wherein
not having a machine-parsable format for debian/copyright be mandatory
can be useful, I can think of a lot more use cases wherein a such a
requirement would be a serious improvement to the usefulness of the
actual proposal.

If we're going to make a machine-parsable format, at least make it
something which can be usefully used in all our packages.

Otherwise, I'm pretty sure that the following is going to happen:
- At some undetermined point in the future, the proposal is finalized
  and accepted
- Some percentage of packages have their debian/copyright file converted
  to the new format
- At some other point in the future, someone figures that this
  debian/copyright file is an interesting candiate to do something
- A while later, this person (or someone who uses the "something useful"
  written by that person) decides that the "oldfashioned" way should go
  out, and starts taking steps to make the machine-parsable format
- Maintainers of large packages have to spend most of their time
  updating copyright files because nobody bothered to make the format a
  decent one today.

Please, if you're going to pursue this, make sure it's either acceptable
to everyone, or not even attempted in the first place.

The biometric identification system at the gates of the CIA headquarters
works because there's a guard with a large gun making sure no one is
trying to fool the system.

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