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Re: Bug#436105: suggestion to add GPL-1 as a common licence

Santiago Vila <sanvila@unex.es> writes:
> On Sun, 5 Aug 2007, Sam Hocevar wrote:

>>    There are still many packages that mention the GPL version 1 in
>> their copyright file (around 350). Many Perl packages, but also Perl
>> itself and widespread things like sed, joe, cvs, dict...

>>    There are also countless packages that are under the GPL without
>> mentioning the version at all (more than 2,000 but I was unable to get
>> a precise number), they should therefore be considered "version 1 or
>> above".

>>    This is why I believe it wouldn't hurt to ship the GPL-1 with
>> base-files, even if most people are going to use "any later
>> version". It can be found here:
>> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-1.0.txt

> I delegate this decision to the policy group, as explained in base-files
> FAQ.

> As your proposal does not require a change in debian-policy, you would
> only need two seconds and no objections.

> However, my personal opinion is that the GPL v1 should be considered
> obsolete and we should deprecate it. The FSF would probably tell you
> that the GPLv1 has bugs which have been fixed in GPLv2 and GPLv3.

> We would be happier if we had less licenses to consider, not more.

This has come up several times since the last activity on this bug, and
now that I have a tool to check the licenses across all packages in
Debian, I went and took a look at the usage.  The result is that there is
a minimum of 1,540 packages in Debian licensed under the GPL version 1
(possibly with the or-later clause).  This is an undercount, since this is
only picking up those packages that use a DEP-5 copyright file.  There are
also 10,116 packages that refer to the unversioned GPL symlink, and I know
from personal experience at least some of those are also licensed under
the GPL version 1 or later.

Given that, while I'm very sympathetic to Santiago's argument, I also
think that we should be able to represent in packages their upstream
licensing statement and not be implicitly relicensing them under later
versions of the GPL, and without including a bunch of copies of the GPL
version 1.  The usage of the license is high enough to qualify for
common-licenses under our normal criteria: long license, used by over 5%
of the binary packages in the archive, and used in packages that are
installed on every system (perl-base).

I therefore propose adding GPL version 1 to the list of licenses said by
Policy to be in common-licenses and asking Santiago to include a copy in
base-files.  I'm not including a diff since it would just create merge
conflicts with the BSD diff proposed earlier today and because it's fairly
obvious, although I can if people would prefer.

Objections or seconds?

Copying debian-perl on this message since that's the set of developers who
are most affected by this.

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

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