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Re: Bug#431109: [PROPOSAL] Disambiguate of Section 12.5

Robert Millan <rmh@aybabtu.com> writes:

> I don't like it.  Current text seems to forbid referring to
> `/usr/share/common-licenses/GPL' for a package that is licensed under
> GPL version N or later.  At the very least, it should allow this.

I don't believe that the currnet Policy forbids that practice (note that
the footnote is not normative).

For those listening on, to spare you the trouble of going to look, here's
the current Policy text:

     Packages distributed under the UCB BSD license, the Artistic license,
     the GNU GPL (version 2 or 3), the GNU LGPL (versions 2, 2.1, or 3),
     and the GNU FDL (version 1.2) should refer to the corresponding files
     under `/usr/share/common-licenses',[1] rather than quoting them in the
     copyright file.

If you refer to the corresponding file through a symlink, this is still

The version numbers are needed to avoid the problem that we ran into
briefly with the GPL v3.  If a new version of the GPL is released and
upstream releases under that specific version, packages should be
permitted to quote it in the copyright file if base-files hasn't been
updated yet.  (In practice, I expect most base-files updates will be
quick, but we should allow for the possibility anyway.)

I personally don't believe the unversioned links should ever be used, but
that's a separate matter.  The practice is intentionally not mentioned
because I don't believe it should be recommended, but maintainers who want
to use them can work it out for themselves.

> This is in fact a convenient practice, because it spares you the job of
> updating debian/copyright every time upstream updates to a newer version
> of the GPL.

How so?  You're still going to have to change debian/copyright either way
if upstream changes the minimum version of the GPL or your
debian/copyright is already wrong.  And while you're changing it anyway,
you can change the GPL link to point to the minimum version allowed by the

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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