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Re: Missing changelog file

Rock Storm <rockstorm@gmx.com> writes:

> The question arose because lintian reports the following warning "no-
> upstream-changelog" [2]
> [2] https://lintian.debian.org/tags/no-upstream-changelog.html ;

Lintian is correct to emit that message: the upstream work should
include a human-facing change log document.

This is not dependent on legal concerns. Regardless of the legal
questions, distributing a change log document is a matter of good
distribution hygiene.

The upstream maintainers should be encouraged to include – for the
benefit of a human who is considering different versions of the same
work – a change log document describing the differences between each
released version of the work.

Note, though, that it is not a “warning”-severity tag. It is at
“pedantic” severity, so acceptance of the package is not determined by
that Lintian tag.

> > Is the work derived from a different copyright holder's work? Was
> > that work received under condition of the GPL also?
> I am not sure that I understand this question, the derived work would
> be the packaging and the "original" software is published under the
> GPL-3 in [1].

You later understand my intention, but to be clear: I'm not referring to
the Debian package derived from upstream. I'm referring to the common
situation where the upstream work is itself derived from some prior work.

> Technically what was suggested was only the posibility of the upstream
> changelog file being a requirement to be compliant with the DFSG.

To my knowledge there is no such general requirement mentioned in the
DFSG, nor a general requirement for legal purposes.

> What I was told was to consult these matter here for better advise.

I forgot to thank you for doing so: Thank you for taking care with the
legal status of works in Debian.

> If I don't get it wrong, in this case, upstream work is not "derived"
> from another one, so it is ok if they don't include a file detailing
> the changes made from one version to another.

Your description is equivalent to saying that they are the only
copyright holders in the work. Is that true?

If so, then they don't even need to comply with the license they grant
to others, since they are not bound by it.

It is only if they received (some prior version of) the work under GPL
conditions, that they would then have to comply with those conditions in
the derived work.

> Nonetheless, it is the debian package the one that must duly include a
> file stating the changes made, the debian/changelog file.

That's quite independent. Yes, that's necessary, and it is explicitly
required by Debian Policy.

 \          “And if I laugh at any mortal thing, / 'Tis that I may not |
  `\               weep.” —“Lord” George Gordon Noel Byron, _Don Juan_ |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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