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Bug#566220: [PATCH] Clarify "verbatim copy of its copyright and distribution license"


I'd have to agree with Jonathan Nieder and Charles Plessy that the
proposed change does not reflect current consensus.

On Mon, Feb 01, 2010 at 11:50:25AM -0800, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Jonathan Nieder <jrnieder@gmail.com> writes:

> >> --- a/policy.sgml
> >> +++ b/policy.sgml
> >> @@ -570,7 +570,7 @@
> >>  
> >>  	<p>
> >>  	  Every package must be accompanied by a verbatim copy of
> >> -	  its copyright and distribution license in the file
> >> +	  its copyright notices and distribution license in the file
> >>  	  <file>/usr/share/doc/<var>package</var>/copyright</file>
> >>  	  (see <ref id="copyrightfile"> for further details).
> >>  	</p>
> > For what it???s worth, I have not noticed a wide consensus for this
> > reading.  It can be nice to have all notices in one place for a
> > variety of reasons (for example as evidence that the package
> > maintainer took them into account), but in all but the smallest of
> > packages, maintainers do not do that, nor do they seem to think it
> > would be desirable.

Agreed.  The license for using and distributing the files in the
BINARY package is useful and necessary.  But I can't imagine that many
binary package users would need the hundreds of copyright statements
from multi-author works like the kernel, gcc, libc, etc.  A summary
should be fine and for those who really want the details the source
package exists.

I'm reasonably sure that this is the current consensus view, as
evidenced by the existing copyright files.

> > Instead, I have always read that passage to mean
> > 	Every package must be accompanied by a verbatim copy of
> > 	its copyright information and distribution license in
> > 	the file /usr/share/doc/<package>/copyright.
> I think this is a better wording for the existing situation.  However...

I was under the impression that Policy is more descriptive (of
existing practices) than prescriptive.  For example, I believe that
archive-wide changes generally must achieve consensus by having the
changes done, tested, etc, before being enshrined in policy.

In this light, I don't understand the motivation for "clarifying"
the policy to something that manifestly we're not following.

I'd suggest instead to clarify to the current policy on the ground.


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