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Re: What does "most recent GPL" mean?



On Wed, 14 Feb 2007 17:25:49 -0800 Jeff Carr wrote:

> On 02/14/07 13:07, Francesco Poli wrote:
> 
> > I'm going to file a (normal severity) bug against the bootcd package
> > to request that the license statement is clarified.
> 
> It would be a good idea to put together a standard template for both
> the preferred content of the debian/copyright file

There already is documentation about this.
The most important links are, IMHO:

 * general rules in Debian Policy (currently in section 12.5 _Copyright
   information_)
http://www.debian.org/doc/debian-policy/ch-docs.html#s-copyrightfile

 * more detailed example in Debian New Maintainer's Guide (currently in
   section 4.2 _`copyright' file_)
http://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/maint-guide/ch-dreq.en.html#s-copyright

 * some brief HOWTOs posted to debian-devel-announce, the most recent of
   which is AFAIK:
http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2006/03/msg00023.html

> and a well written
> email for responding to package maintainers.

This is harder, since the issues to be raised are not so uniform and
repetitive...  :-(

[...]
> In general, it would have been useful to know that directly below the
> "most recent GPL" line was the text:
> 
> On Debian GNU/Linux systems, the complete text of the GNU General
> Public License can be found in `/usr/share/common-licenses/GPL'.
> 
> I think it would have taken only a few seconds then for many people to
> mention this is very likely a simple "communication/knowledge error"
> of the package maintainer and probably not something that needed to
> expend any of FSF's legal resources. IMHO.

Well, my main concern is not that bootcd could be interpreted as
licensed under the terms of the Great Painful License or of the Grossly
Postponed License.
I am quite confident that the copyright holder (who happens to also be
the Debian maintainer) intended to license his work under the GNU
General Public License, as published by the FSF.

The point is: which version(s) of the GNU GPL?
This is not clear at all, IMO.  And I had confirmation from the FSF that
the license statement is confusing...


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