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On 29/08/11 09:20, PJ Weisberg wrote:
> On Sunday, August 28, 2011, Ximin Luo <infinity0@gmx.com> wrote:
>> On 28/08/11 02:33, Steve Langasek wrote:
>>> On Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 02:00:33AM +0100, Ximin Luo wrote:
>>>> If you were to write a program that could report the copyright status of
>>>> every single file on the system, it would be weird if you showed a
>>>> slightly different GPL3 for different files.  Even if you parsed a
> license
>>>> text to a canonical form, I doubt this would be a visually pleasing
> form,
>>>> or even one that has a coherent logical structure.  e.g.  Steve
> suggested
>>>> collapsing whitespace - but this loses (e.g.) paragraph information.
>>> How you decide to format the license text for display is an *entirely*
>>> separate question from checking whether the license text is correct.  I
>>> never suggested using the case- and whitespace-smashed form for display
> (or
>>> even storing it as a file).
>> In any case, the current situation makes this (formatting) hard to do.
> It's not
>> a good solution programatically, to have a "canonical" form that isn't
> easily
>> formattable.
> At this point you're arguing implementation details.  You don't have to
> format it at all, because the package already contains a formatted version
> of the text.  The real issue is that the "known correct" text of the license
> would have to exist somewhere.  Where?  In some package that contains
> commonly used licenses?

Right, that would be the neatest solution IMO. So far the only reason advanced
against it is "don't want to make it seem like Debian endorses MPL" but this
isn't valid, because Debian does not "endorse" licenses, only specify which
licenses are acceptable to be in Debian.

> People don't seem to agree what common-licenses is for. If it's to save disk
> space, then Popcon has all the information needed to figure out exactly how
> many bytes would be saved by putting it in common-licenses and replacing all
> existing copies with a symlink.  If it's to save work, then how much work
> would be saved compared to the cost of adding it to common-licenses?

I don't think disk space is an issue these days, and it's not why I want this.
Eliminating unnecessary redundancy and having an *easy-to-use* standard for
specifying licenses is what my goal is.

It's analogous to having shared libraries. Sure we *could* link statically, and
there are certain advantages to this, but Debian has decided to go the other
way. Why not license texts, then?

To add it to base-files is trivial. To create another package for licenses is
only slightly more complex[1]. It would save each new package maintainer having
to faff about trying to think of the best way to "include the full text of the
MPL", or any other long license.

I don't know the cost of changing Debian policy / DEP-5 to allow these to be
used in debian/copyright, but I hope it won't be big.

[1] If "putting a load of licenses into one package" doesn't scale, you could
split it into tiers, e.g. licenses-standard, licenses-common, licenses-rare, or


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