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Re: copyright precision

On Monday, August 15, 2016 05:59:43 PM Simon McVittie wrote:
> On Mon, 15 Aug 2016 at 18:17:52 +0200, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> > The problem we're having here is clearly about *tooling*. If we had a
> > good toolchain to compile and audit machine-readable debian/copyright
> > files without sweating, nobody would complain.
> I have three slightly devil's-advocate responses to that:
> * If we had a good toolchain to compile and audit this stuff, people
>   and companies who want to know the copyright holders could just use
>   that to inspect the upstream source code and cut out the middle-man.
> * Our copyright files are only correct inasmuch as upstream's copyright
>   attribution is correct. I would guess that a large majority of patch
>   submitters, even implementors of somewhat major features that are
>   certainly copyrightable, don't actually add a copyright notice to the
>   files they touched. I certainly don't do that 100% consistently for my
>   own contributions; I'm careful to preserve *other people's* copyright
>   notices and license grants if I incorporate someone else's code into a
>   project, but I think I can confidently say that not all upstreams
>   are even that conscientious.
> * I will continue to complain as long as my "source" packages are
>   expected to contain 87kB monsters like
> <https://sources.debian.net/src/adwaita-icon-theme/3.20-3/debian/copyright/
> >, which is fairly clearly not anyone's preferred form for modification, and
> if we're being honest probably not really anyone's preferred form for
> consumption either. (That file is actually generated, by the slightly less
> offensive 11kB
> <https://sources.debian.net/src/adwaita-icon-theme/3.20-3/debian/copyright.
> pl/>, because I really didn't want to insert the CC licenses by hand; but
> Policy and ftp-master practice require the generated file to be part of the
> source upload. See also <https://bugs.debian.org/768292>.)

Personally, I think the bulk of the reason we should care about 
debian/copyright is to achieve license compliance.  For license compliance we 
need to reproduce the upstream copyright notice and license, so even if it was 
easy to download source and inspect with better tool, it does nothing to help 
what we need to do to keep the binary parts of the archive legal to 

I think your points are orthogonal to the reasons we do debian/copyright.

Yes, copyright files are hard and unfun and we could use better tools, but I 
don't think anyone is writing or reviewing debian/copyright because they enjoy 

Scott K
Wearing no hats

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