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Re: [PROPOSAL] Full text of GPL must be included

Okay.. Let's see if I'm following here and can therefore correctly

We're required to ship a copy of the GPL with each complete work. We just
don't know for sure of the granularity of a "complete work" under the GPL.

So I maintain, from the point of view of an end-user of Debian, that the
"complete" work is the "official" main + non-US/main distribution.
Individual debs, official mirror sites, cdrom packages, and source
packages are merely components of this "complete work".

If I compile a GPL'd debian package from source, for use on a Debian
system not necessarily my own, that package stays a mere component of the
"complete work", even if that package is not the same version as the
"official" one.

However, if I compile the selfsame GPL'd debian package for use on a
non-Debian system, then it is my responsibility to ensure a copy of the
GPL of whichever version is cited, travels along with the package to the

I recognise that it doesn't necessarily follow that the "complete work"
shares the same scope when taken from another point of view, for instance
that of a redistributor. I however do not see the necessity of including a
verbatim copy of any common license in the debs, because the debs are
meant to be installed on a Debian system, which will already have a copy
of the license installed, or converted with alien and installed on an rpm
or slackware system, which ought to have a similar system of common
license management.

Perhaps, if the consensus is that we MUST TO include a verbatim copy of
the GPL, we therefore extend to including a verbatim license irrespective
of the license. I suggest that the best place to place this verbatim copy
is in the package's metadata.

On Thu, 30 Nov 2000, Anthony Towns wrote:

> On Wed, Nov 29, 2000 at 05:36:42PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> > So you're right that the rule is that the GPL must be shipped when you
> > ship the complete work, and that it's not quite sensible to mean with
> > every piece of the complete work. 
> Note that we ship the base-files package marked as "Essential: yes",
> and it's shipped accompanying every .deb on every Debian mirror.
> Somewhat analogously, if you have an unpacked source tree available by
> HTTP, presumably that's okay, even if the user never bothers downloading
> the COPYING.GPL file (since if they wanted to read it, they trivially
> could have). Yes? Or must the HTTP server be modified to attach the GPL
> to every file downloaded, just in case?
> This seems analogous to the Debian archive, to me.
> Is it also illegal to email a 20 line, GPLed, .c file to someone,
> without attaching the entire GPL?
> That seems analogous to someone giving someone else a floppy with a
> single .deb on it, to me, rather than any Debian does itself.
> Would you really suggest that every source file should include the
> complete text of the GPL so as to ensure the latter never happens? That
> seems analogous to what you're suggesting here. It seems like an awkward
> and cumbersome solution to something that's not actually a problem
> for anyone.
> Cheers,
> aj, who begins to see the BSD folks' point
> -- 
> Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
> I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.
>      ``Thanks to all avid pokers out there''
>                        -- linux.conf.au, 17-20 January 2001

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