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Ximin Luo <infinity0@gmx.com> writes:

> I've been trying to package a bunch of mozilla extensions and getting
> used to all the book-keeping that debian packages need, much of which is
> copyright.  I read DEP-5 and have been working on getting my
> debian/copyright files to conform to that standard. However, one major
> annoyance is the inclusion of verbatim licenses, in particular MPL-1.1.

I simply don't buy the idea that this is any sort of significant
annoyance.  You only have to do the work to convert MPL-1.1 to DEP-5
format once, and then you can just copy and paste it from one package to
the next when they're under the same license.  Compared to the other work
required to produce a good Debian package, this is minor, and after the
first time takes a minute or two at the outside.

> The "correct" way (according to a strict interpretation of debian policy
> and DEP-5) to do this is to include MPL-1.1 verbatim within a License:
> paragraph,


> which means you need to indent every single line by one space, and fill
> in the blank lines with a "." character.

Which takes all of 15 minutes of work at most in a good editor, that you
only have to do once, and then you're done forever.  (You probably want to
check with diff that the MPL for one package is actually the same as the
MPL for the next package, but that's fast.)

> The "hardcore" geeks will say "oh you can write a sed script to do that
> easily", but this takes some mental effort, so not surprisingly people
> have come up with their ad-hoc solutions to this, usually involving
> including MPL.txt or somesuch in the /doc/ folder.

I believe those packages are buggy, and I actually wouldn't be surprised
if ftp-master rejected them, although that's between the package
maintainer and ftp-master.  It's just not that difficult to do the right
thing, particularly since one can probably pool resources and use the same
DEP-5 conversion of MPL-1.1 in multiple packages.

> The problem is that everyone does this in slightly different ways, so it
> becomes very hard to extract this information mechanically.

This doesn't make sense to me.  DEP-5 has a clear explanation of how to
designate the license used by the package in a way that doesn't involve
the wording and which is mechanically extractable.  Nothing about the
process of putting the legal text in debian/copyright is relevant to the
problem of mechanical extractability of the licensing information for the

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

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