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Re: [DEP5] [patch] Renaming the ‘Maintainer’ field ‘Contact’

Le Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 03:03:32AM -0700, Steve Langasek a écrit :
> On Sun, Aug 15, 2010 at 05:25:34PM +0900, Charles Plessy wrote:
> > The Policy recommends to “name the original authors of the package and the
> > Debian maintainer(s) who were involved with its creation”, but it is debated
> > (#462996) whether it is authoritative on the subject or not. Also, one could
> > argue that the Copyright fields serve exactly that purpose, especially if this
> > field is allowed in the header. 
> The Copyright field should only ever be used to list copyrights.  To use it
> for any other purpose would be gratuitously confusing.  So no, it does not
> serve the purpose of identifying an upstream contact/maintainer.

In my understading, the policy above asks for: 

 - the name the upstream original authors;
 - the name of the first Debian maintainers.

It does not ask to single out among the original authors who is maintainer
and who is not. One can be author but not maintainer.

By listing all copyright holders, including the debian directory, we list all
authors and debian maintainers, that is what I wrote above.

However, it is not always true: when the copyright holder is not a physical
person, or when the work is in the public domain, the autors are not listed.
But singling out a couple of the currently most active ones as ‘maintainers’
does not fullfil the Policy's requirement either.

I think that the Policy should be fixed:

 - If authors do not hold a copyright, there is no legal requirement to list
   them in debian/copyright, and therefore this is a tedious work we can avoid.

 - If the software's documentation does not indicate who is the maintainer,
   it is difficult to infer this from the source files alone.

However, listing authors also seems to be a requirement from our archive


  ‘Your debian/copyright file must contain the following information:
   - The author(s) name
   - The year(s) of the copyright
   - The used license(s)
   - The URL to the upstream source
  In many packages there is more than one author, more than one
  copyright-holder and more than one license. Do not miss to list them

What is the feeling of the archive administrators (CCed) about this question:
do we need to list an author if he is not a copyright holder ?

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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