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Bug#462996: Would I agree to merging #633994 with #462996?

Would I agree to merging #633994 with #462996?

Hmm. Possibly. I think my issue is a subset of #462996. So it depends if
my question is narrow enough that it can be settled separately.

I read #462996 as a request that Debian policy should get as close as
possible to an expression of what the FTP masters will accept. I can see
that the FTP masters can move faster than Debian policy. However I think
the bug as stated is quite reasonable (and whilst not wanting to have
the FTP masters wrapped in chains), settled aspects of FTP masters
practice should be reflected in policy. Similarly #606411 is another
plea that Debian Policy should reflect FTP master practice.

The point of the #633994 bug report has a lot less to do with FTP master
policy and more about making sure that Debian users do not need to be
fully versed in Debian sub-cultures in order to comprehend the
debian/copyright file. It is about people reading extra meaning into
obscure syntax distinctions in the copyright file - when Debian does not
even have an enforced standard for the copyright file. In some ways this
is a DEP-5 question. However there are aspects that can be abstracted
away from DEP-5.

The critical sentence in Debian Policy seems to be "Every package must
be accompanied by a verbatim copy of its copyright information and
distribution license in the file /usr/share/doc/package/copyright. "
from section 12.5.

There is quite a lot of meaning compacted into that single sentence. The
distribution license surely refers to the license that Debian is issuing
the package under. Since this may be a later version than the upstream
source, that cannot be a verbatim copy of the upstream license. Indeed a
close reading of the policy shows that it is the copyright information
and not the license information that needs to be verbatim, but I have
only just noted this.

So the usage I was complaining about squeezed the upstream license
information into the short license and the Debian license information
into the long description. Surely that is confusing and how is a user
expected to know to read the copyright file in that way? Also it is
pointless as the upstream license information can be found in the
".orig." tar ball.

After following the links, the concrete bit of #462996 seems to be that
the requirement for these pieces of information:

 - The author(s) name
 - The year(s) of the copyright
 - The used license(s)
 - The URL to the upstream source

If the somewhat compacted sentence in the curent Debian policy was
replaced with a somewhat expanded list like this, this would clearly
address #462996. However on its own it would not address #633994,
because it would still not be sufficiently clear that the license refers
to the license as it impacts the user of the Debian package as distinct
from the upstream license.

Nicholas Bamber | http://www.periapt.co.uk/
PGP key 3BFFE73C from pgp.mit.edu

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