[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

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

On Sat, Jun 13, 2009 at 01:39:00AM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> 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.

Is debhelper useless because it's not mandatory?

Are watch files useless because they're not mandatory?

Both are tools for normalizing the content of packages in ways that make it
easier for third parties to approach the source packages and do useful
things with them, with minimal effort and per-package learning curve.  I
think a machine-readable debian/copyright is something in the same spirit:
there are network effects that make it more useful the more widespread it
is, but there's no reason it should be mandatory in Debian unless there's a
clear consensus in favor of doing so.

If you accept that debhelper and watch files are useful without being
mandatory, surely you can see that a copyright file format could be useful
in the same way?

If you *don't* accept that debhelper and watch files are useful to people,
then I'm not inclined to try to persuade you that the current plan is useful
either.  Because, given that I'm *not* trying to make it mandatory, it's not
actually relevant to try to convince everyone that it's useful, just to
convince a substantial subset of people.

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

Certainly, my intent is to make the machine-parseable format something which
is *suitable* for use in any package.  I welcome input on how best to
achieve this.  But I see no need to engage naysayers who question the
premise that a machine-parseable file has uses.

> Otherwise, I'm pretty sure that the following is going to happen:


> - 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
>   mandatory.

debhelper has been around for about a decade or so, and is not mandatory
even though it would make QA work quite a bit easier.  Mind, people have
*proposed* making it mandatory, and have been shot down.  Why wouldn't the
same happen to proposals to make an unsatisfactory copyright 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.

Or they could engage the process productively at any time prior to this by
helping to fix its shortcomings; or failing that, they could participate in
the Policy process to prevent it becoming a standard.

And after all, debhelper didn't need a DEP at all in order to come into
widespread use, so your worst case scenario could equally well come to pass
without ever going through a public discussion process - there are already a
fair number of formatted debian/copyright files in the wild based on nothing
more than a pretty bad wiki draft...

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

Reply to: