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Bug#768292: debian-policy: please allow copyright file to refer to license text in separate files

On Thu, Nov 06, 2014 at 09:44:29AM +0000, Simon McVittie wrote:
> Package: debian-policy
> Severity: wishlist
> [X-Debbugs-Cc: ftpmaster@debian.org because I know the Policy maintainers
> don't actually control what is or isn't acceptable in the archive in this
> respect.]
> Some packages currently have stanzas like this in their copyright files:
>     License: MPL-2.0
>      The complete text of the Mozilla Public License 2.0 can be found in
>      the `MPL-2.0' file in the same directory as this file.
> It is not clear to me whether Debian Policy allows this. I would like it
> to be specifically allowed, unless there is some good reason not to; if
> ftp-master tools like whatever tool generates
> <https://ftp-master.debian.org/new.html> need to be able to extract these
> files, it would be OK to prescribe some fixed naming convention, such as
> /usr/share/doc/${package}/${name}.license or (if they are also required
> to have a prescribed location in the source package)
> debian/${name}.license.
> One package that would benefit from this is adwaita-icon-theme. It currently
> has an 87K copyright file[1], mechanically generated from a Perl script[2]
> and four verbatim Creative Commons licenses[3] which are re-indented for
> copyright-format by the script. If I'd known it was OK to do so, I would
> much rather have shipped those four licenses as-is and just made the
> copyright file refer to them.

Note the iceweasel copyright file uses that stanza for both MPL-1.1 and
MPL-2.0, and is still about 100K long. Even if MPL-2.0 ends up in the
common set of licenses, that would still leave the MPL-1.1 being a
problem, while, in fact, it's barely relevant: all the code under the
MPL-1.1 is either dual or tri-licensed with LGPL-2.1 as an alternative.

So, I would still hate to have to put the verbatim MPL-1.1 text in the
iceweasel copyright file.


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