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Bug#649530: [copyright-format] clearer definitions and more consistent License: stanza specification

Le Mon, Nov 21, 2011 at 11:08:44PM +0000, Ximin Luo a écrit :
> The fundamental problem:
> DEP5 is unclear about what is meant by a "license".

Dear Ximin,

thank you for your comments and for pointing out that the examples in the
current draft are not consistent with the draft's syntax.  I will file a bug
about this later.

I would like to re-frame the discussion and remind that, at the base of the
DEP, there are the requirements of the Debian policy, of the Debian archive
administrators, and the common practice. 

In the case of the (L)GPL, it is common practice to use the license notices as
found in headers of files as if they were the actual license text.  First
because the Policy §12.5 specifies that the copyright file should point at
/usr/share/common-licenses instead of quoting these licenses, and second
because the Archive administrators require us to include these headers

I believe this is quite well summarised in the DEP iself, but your suggestions for
improvement are most welcome.  See http://dep.debian.net/deps/dep5/#license-files-field

Because the license notices differ between GPL-n and GPL-n+, I think that it is
consistent to not accept to factorise them with the same stand-alone license

In the case of the BSD-family licenses, my feeling is that indeed, they all
differ as soon as the wording changes, in particular when the persons or
institutions whose name “must not be used to endorse usage…” differ.  This said
I think that in most countries, this clause is redundant with laws protecting
the usage of other's names, which makes the BSD variants discussed here
practically equivalent.  Accordingly, SPDX.org is collating them under the same
short name.

The case of the MPL, and the other long licenses with variable notices or
exhibit (or however they are called), is more difficult as one would have to
include the exhibit in the Files paragraph and the full, invarable text in the
stand-alone License paragraph.  While the DEP does not disallow to do that, it
opens difficult questions on how to represent the information.  In the case of
the MPL, a workaround could be to include its full text in

This said, I expect that the first uses cases of machine-reading DEP-5
copyright files will focus on the license short names.  For the rest, I think
that we would benefit of first observing if there is convergence in people's
practice.  The parsers used to edit, validate or display the copyright files
will for sure be influential on this convergence.  In that context, I think
that suggestions like license exception paragraph are more relevant for a 1.1
revision.  If needed I would agree to modify the DEP to not disallow them.  For
instance:  “Parsers may recognise extra types paragraphs, but this is not
required to comply to this specification”.

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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