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Re: RFC: Debian License Information on www.debian.org

(-www should please cc me in reply - MFT is set.)

Frank Lichtenheld said on Fri, Apr 30, 2004 at 03:49:34AM +0200,:

 > As some of you might have known/noticed, Andreas Barth and I worked
 > on  a way to  present the  findings of  debian-legal on  the Debian
 > website.


 > You can find these pages on http://www.debian.org/legal/licenses/

Good effort. But ...
1. where should  somebody go  to if  (s)he wants to  check if  the FOO
license is  DFSG compliant?  Obviously, licenses which  were in Debian
for ever (like the GNU GPL) will not be mentioned in these pages.

2. When I was new to Debian, I used to look for a page which contained
some info like  what has been put up, and  I certainly will appreciate
if the following suggestions are implemented.

Few lines at the top of the present page will help. Something like:-

    There has  been a plethora of  licenses claiming to  be `free' and
    'open-source'.  This  proliferation has been  causing confusion to
    developers  and users  alike. While  there  is no  rule like  `all
    packages license FOO' are eligible  to be included in Debian', The
    license under which a  package is released is certainly considered
    by  Debian while  deciding whether  a  package is  eligible to  be
    included in the Debian archives. 

    Debian's  policy about including  packages can  be found  (link to
    www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-archive.html) here. 

    These  site presents  the opinion  of  the Debian  project on  how
    certain licenses .... etc. (the present body)

(then, at the end)

    Certain  copyright  holders  however  choose to  place  additional
    restrictions, or strange  interpretations on their licenses.  Some
    authors  actually provide  clarifications to  licenses, permitting
    what would not be allowed by the plain test of the license. Hence,
    merely  the fact  that a  <b>license</b> meets  the DFSG  does not
    assure inclusion of a package  in Debian. In other words, not only
    the  license,  but  also   the  software,  its  dependencies,  and
    authors'/ copyright holders' interpretation  of the  license, all
    should comply with the Debian Free <b>Software</b> Guidelines.

/legal, /licenses/ or  /copyright is the place where  people will look
for  this info. So,  obviously above  is to  be included  somewhere in

I am not a DD.

  Mahesh T. Pai, LL.M.,                   
  'NANDINI', S. R. M. Road,               
  Ernakulam, Cochin-682018,               
  Kerala, India.                          

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