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Re: DEP-5: prior art for license short names

Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> writes:

> One concern I have with the current DEP5 draft is that the set of
> keywords for common licenses is very NIH.

Well, that speaks to motives (NIH) that I don't think were present. I
think it's just that the obvious clearing houses for license information
(OSI, FSF) didn't provide a good list of short names so there appeared
to be no option but to create our own.

> Fedora, for example, has an existing list of license keywords that are
> widely deployed, as can be found here:
>   http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Licensing#Software_License_List

That page doesn't make clear how the “short name” is intended to be
used, and what ambiguities are or are not acceptable. What assurance is
there that these short names are sufficiently unambiguous, discrete, and
distinct enough on which to found DEP 5 license declarations?

> I think we should consider adopting this existing set of license
> keywords as part of the DEP, and diverging from it only when necessary
> in order to resolve ambiguities or reduce complexity (e.g., using a
> single rule about version numbers instead of spelling these all out).
> I see a few advantages to this approach:

I agree with all your reasons, and it clearly makes sense to collaborate
on a standard set of license identifiers.

> (And I don't think existing deployments of the draft spec in
> debian/copyright files is a reason to avoid exploring this option,
> since there are any number of other proposed changes on the table that
> would also invalidate existing usage.)

Agreed. This is the main reason for requiring the ‘Format-Specifier’, it
means tools can quickly determine whether an existing copyright
information file is not expected to be conformant with the current

> Since this will shake up the list of license keywords substantially
> from where it is in the draft today, I recommend having this
> discussion immediately and setting aside for the moment other threads
> proposing fixes to individual license keywords; depending on the
> outcome here those proposals may cease to be relevant or need to be
> adapted significantly.

No problem here, so long as the concerns above are addressed.

 \       “Crime is contagious… if the government becomes a lawbreaker, |
  `\          it breeds contempt for the law.” —Justice Louis Brandeis |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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