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

On 26/12/12 23:39, Jonathan Nieder wrote:
> Charles Plessy wrote:
>> If experimentations are blocked because the current specification does not
>> allow unspecified types of paragraphs, how about considering to relax it ?
> I honestly think that License-Exception stanzas already are a
> fundamental enough change that they would have to be permitted in the
> standard before actual copyright files. And that's not weird at all
> --- it's normal for new features to involve changes to a spec.
> Maybe I am missing something basic? Am I wrong to think that factoring
> out license exceptions would be useful as a way of making copyright
> files more readable, or do they have some glaring downside that I've
> failed to notice?
> Jonathan

I'm a little surprised that the License-Exception paragraph is getting more attention than my other proposed changes. :p

As I understand it yes, the current spec does not allow new paragraphs, but even if it were relaxed to allow these (as Charles suggests), other parts of the spec will forbid a useful License-Exception paragraph.

This is because the current spec treats "short names" as combinations of {X, X+, X-with-Y-exception, X+-with-Y-exception} for each X and Y. The current spec only allows you to quote the full text of a "short name" as a whole, not its individual components. So you would not be able to split the full text of "GPL-2+ with OpenSSL exception" into separate License and License-Exception paragraphs.

By contrast, my proposed changes re-defines "short names" to be {X} only, and pushes the "+" and "with-exception" operators into the same level as "and"/"or" operators. Then "GPL-2+ with OpenSSL exception" is a composite license rather than a short name, and you are allowed to split the full text of its components.

(I do not see any downside to this.)


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