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Re: debian/* license of non-free packages

Quoting Markus Koschany (2013-01-10 11:11:30)
> Hi Nick,
> On Thu, 10. Jan 05:35 Nick Andrik <nick.andrik@gmail.com> wrote:
> [...] 
> > My main question is what kind of license should I specify in
> > debian/copyright for debian/* ?
> > If we assume that the packagers who have worked on this package 
> > during its lifetime can agree to a license for the packaging part, 
> > what are the constraints?
> I am facing the same problem with my package zangband at the moment. 
> The license is non-free and does not allow copying and distribution 
> for "profit purposes". I had to update the copyright because of bug 
> 696916 and 696919 and decided to make it clear that the files for 
> debian/* are free. I had chosen GPL-3+ for these files.
> The package got rejected by the release team who argues that it "is 
> very likely to make the resulting code undistributable if the debian 
> packaging includes patches touching the upstream part". [1]
> Therefore i have prepared another version and i use the GNU 
> All-Permissive license now. [2] I hope that this solves the issue but 
> i haven't got a reply yet.
> On a side note, unace-nonfree also contains patches and the whole 
> debian directory is made available under the GPL-2+ license.
> Maybe a permissive license is better suited then a copyleft license 
> for such cases.

I agree that patches need be compatible with the code the patches are 
applied onto, which for some non-free works cannot be a copyleft one.  
But you may not be copyright holder of said patches so cannot ahead 
choose a liberal license either.

To me it makes sense to always declare a "Files: debian/*" section 
explicitly (except for Debian-native packages), and if patches are 
differently licensed (either because others did the licensing or because 
you did and are forced to license in a certain way to match wher it is 
applied) then additionally add a "Files: debian/patches/*" section.

I always place debian sections as the last Files sections, like this:

Files: *
Copyright: [upstream]
License: [non-free]


Files: debian/*
Copyright: [our team]
License: [copyleft]

Files: debian/patches/*
Copyright: [our team or whoever actually holds copyright]
License: [permissive or whatever others actually issued]

(and then I place all License sections below that - I find that easiest 
to read, but that's outside of this discussion).

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

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