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Re: Ubuntu-to-Debian packaging

On Mon, Dec 03, 2007 at 11:35:31PM +0100, Miriam Ruiz wrote:
> 2007/12/2, Patrick Schoenfeld <schoenfeld@in-medias-res.com>:
> > 1) Copyright / license issues: By removing important information from
> > the previous packaging you might insult the packaging license.
> > Redistribution in Debian might therefore be illegal.
> While I do believe that, as a general rule, it's much better to keep
> old changelog entries, I'm pretty sure it's not illegal at all
> toremove them (IANAL) as long as you keep the copyright statements. It
> might not be polite, but it definitely doesn't look illegal.

The illegal part is distribution of the code without a license.  If you
violate the GPL, it is invalid (so you can't distribute the code using
it).  So if removing the ChangeLog entries is a violation of the GPL, it
is indeed illegal to distribute that code.

Why would it be in violation of the license?  Because of 5a (of
GPL3, GPL2 has a similar statement), which says:

	The work must carry prominent notices stating that you modified
	it, and giving a relevant date.

It doesn't actually say that you must keep intact these notices made by
others before you.  So as long as there is a ChangeLog entry for the
latest modifications, I think the rest can be removed legally speaking
(but IANAL).

Of course with other licenses there may be other terms.  I'm not sure if
we consider a license DFSG-free if it would require keeping all
ChangeLog entries intact.  It reminds me of the "invariant sections"
discussion for the GFDL. :-)  Ah well, as long as no such license is
seen, there's no need to make up our minds. :-)


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