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Re: Bug#885698: What licenses should be included in /usr/share/common-licenses?


Quoting Bill Allombert (2023-09-10 18:29:36)
> On Sun, Sep 10, 2023 at 09:00:22AM -0700, Russ Allbery wrote:
> > Jonas Smedegaard <jonas@jones.dk> writes:
> > > Quoting Hideki Yamane (2023-09-10 11:00:07)
> > >>  Hmm, how about providing license-common package and that depends on
> > >>  "license-common-list", and ISO image provides both, then? It would be
> > >>  no regressions.
> > 
> > I do wonder why we've never done this.  Does anyone know?  common-licenses
> > is in an essential package so it doesn't require a dependency and is
> > always present, and we've leaned on that in the past in justifying not
> > including those licenses in the binary packages themselves, but I'm not
> > sure why a package dependency wouldn't be legally equivalent.  We allow
> > symlinking the /usr/share/doc directory in some cases where there is a
> > dependency, so we don't strictly require every binary package have a
> > copyright file.
> Or we could generate DEBIAN/copyright from debian/copyright using data in
> license-common-list at build time. So maintainers would not need to manage
> the copying themselves.

I very much like this idea. The main reason maintainers want more licenses in
/usr/share/common-licenses/ is so that they do not anymore have humongous
d/copyright files with all license texts copypasted over and over again. If
long texts could be reduced to a reference that get expanded by a machine it
would make debian/copyright look much nicer and would make it easier to
maintain while at the same time shipping the full license text in the binary

Does anybody know why such an approach would be a bad idea?

I have zero legal training so the only potential problem with this approach
that I was able to come up with is, that then the source package itself would
not anymore contain the license text and thus we would be shipping code covered
by a license that states that the code may only be distributed with the license
text alongside it without that text. So while auto-generating this would
probably create compliant binary packages, it would leave the source package
without the license text. Is that a problem?


cheers, josch

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