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Re: status of DEP5: Machine-readable debian/copyright

Bastien ROUCARIES <roucaries.bastien@gmail.com> writes:

> Yes one question do I need to document aclocal.m4 copyright patchwork ?

My take on this (but note that I'm not an ftpmaster):

The debian/copyright file serves two separate purposes.  First, it's
included in binary packages to provide our mandatory license and copyright
statements to comply with licenses and to communicate to users the
licensing of the work.  Second, it's used by the ftpmaster team to review
the package licensing and ensure that it's okay for Debian to distribute

For aclocal.m4 and other build system files, the binary packages are not
normally (there are some special cases) a derivative work of those files,
and therefore their licensing has no impact on the binary package.
There's therefore no need to document their licensing for the first
purpose, since the binary package is independent of them.  Their licensing
may have to be documented for legal reasons in the source package, but for
legal compliance in the source package, the notices at the top of the
files are generally sufficient.  And, more generally, upstream is
presumably already complying with the necessary license restrictions for
the source package and we therefore comply by redistributing the source
package verbatim (at least verbatim from the perspective of those

So, the remaining reason why one might document this is for the ftpmaster
review.  However, 99% of aclocal.m4 files (and configure, and Makefile.in,
and so forth) in packages using Autotools have the same, boring license
which is known to be free and which doesn't require any review.  So while
it's okay to document it (I do for my packages), it really isn't necessary
for the ftpmaster review and I think it can be safely omitted.  *However*,
if aclocal.m4 *isn't* under the customary license and does have some sort
of unusual provision, then you should document it for the ftpmaster

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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