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Re: A media type for the machine-readable copyright format ?

Le Mon, Sep 03, 2012 at 05:23:10PM +0200, Dominique Dumont a écrit :
> On Thursday 30 August 2012 01:25:28 Charles Plessy wrote:
> > I am therefore considering to submit to the IANA a new media type, for
> > instance text/vnd.debian.copyright, for the machine-readable copyright
> > files following the format at
> > http://www.debian.org/doc/packaging-manuals/copyright-format/1.0/.
> > 
> > What do you think ?
> Linux foundation is working on a standard named SPDX [1] which provides 
> similar information (and a lot others).
> May be you should check with them before pushing dep-5 to an official 
> organisation. 

Hi Dominique,

thanks for the comment.  I am well aware of SPDX and we mention it in the
machine-readable debian/copyright specification, in the section on license
short names.  We took care that there is a maximal compatibility between our

My personal opinion would be to follow completely SPDX's list in the next
revision, but this would require 1) volunteers to submit some items to SPDX's
bug tracker for inclusion in their list, and 2) resolve the case of the "Expat"
license that is (rightly, in my opinion) called "MIT" in SPDX.

More importantly, the two projects have different scopes. SPDX documents each
file and the Debian policy lets the user document groups of files that have the
same license.  Also, SPDX supports various formats but not the Debian control
data format, and our machine-readable format supports only this one.

As you know well, the approach is rather to generate machine-readable
debian/copyright files from SPDX files.  See for instance the following
blueprint at Ubuntu.


Altogether, I think that Debian is likely to serve machine-readable
debian/copyright files for at least a couple of releases, so a registered media
type would not be a waste.

Have a nice day,

Charles Plessy
Tsurumi, Kanagawa, Japan

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