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Re: DEP-5: query about possible inheritence of License:

Le Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 07:08:18PM +0100, Jon Dowland a écrit :
> Consider the situation where you have a package licensed entirely under one
> license and predominantly authored by one or more persons, with the odd file
> here and there authored by a different conjunction of people. In this case,
> would the following
>     Files: *
>     Copyright: John Doe <jon@example.org>
>     License: GPL-2+
>     Files: wibble.c
>     Copyright: John Doe <jon@example.org>,
>                Jane Doe <jane@example.org>

Dear Jon and everybody,

In this simple example there is no ambiguity, but only because it is assumed
that the package is licensed entirely under one license. This means that to
implement your suggestion as is, a distinction would need to be introduced in
DEP 5 between packages having only one license and packages having multiple
ones. In my opinion, this is not desirable since problems would arise when
Upstream introduces a file under a new licence in a work that only contained
one (a conversion would be needed).

To keep genericity, there needs a rule that decides from where a stanza with no
License field will inherit the missing statement. One of the candidates sources
is the most general stanza (Files: *), but its presence is not currently
guaranteed by the DEP 5 format. Moreover, the Files field does not correspond
to a requirement for being hosted in the Debian archive, and there were
requests to make this field optional, so it may be better to not rely on its

The easiest alternative source is the the stanza that is just above the one
where the License field is missing. However, the DEP 5 format is inspired by
the Debian control file format, that does not have a concept of field
inheritance between stanzas, so we may break the principle of least surprise.

Nevertheless, I am much in favor of enhancements DEP 5 that allow a relaxed
syntax. I am actually working other changes that follow this goal
(http://git.debian.org/?p=users/plessy/license-summary.git), and would be very
interested to see the patch you proposed to write.

Have a nice day, 

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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