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Does automake pollute the copyright of all packages that use it?

On Sun, 29 Jul 2007 11:40:32 +0530
"Kartik Mistry" <kartik.mistry@gmail.com> wrote:

> Package: deb-gview
> Version: 0.1.2
> Severity: important
> While viewing debian/copyright of deb-gview (using deb-gview), I found
> that it has only GPL listed in copyright file.


> But, since package is using install-sh, it should have listed
> copyright/license of it in debian/copyright.

If that was true, you would need to file thousands of bugs for all the
other autotools packages that use install-sh via automake. The file is
actually copied from a symlink during the upstream build process:

lrwxrwxrwx 34 2007-05-23 00:00
install-sh-> /usr/share/automake-1.9/install-sh

The deb-gview CVS does not contain the file:

CC'ing legal to clarify.

I use the same build method for libqof1, pilot-qof, gpe-expenses... It
is also used in other GPE packages and other automake/autotools based
packages that I have worked on elsewhere. In every case, install-sh is
unchanged from the automake file (and updated when automake is updated).

I don't see that it makes sense to carry copyright information into
every single package that uses automake in this way.

The script isn't compiled into the program, it doesn't form part of the
distributed binaries, it is part of the build system - much like gcc or
dpkg or bash or automake itself (which does include a copyright
statement explicitly detailing install-sh). The only difference is that
this script needs to exist within the source directory - if anything,
that could be considered a bug in automake, maybe the script should
actually be able to run from /usr/bin. True, you cannot (currently)
build the package without install-sh but then you can't build it
without automake, autoconf, cdbs or dpkg either.

It could also be considered as an automake bug that the 'make dist'
target requires install-sh to be copied into the .orig.tar.gz when it
could (presumably) just as easily be copied into place when automake is
first run during the build itself.


Neil Williams

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