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Re: Q for all candidates: license and copyright requirements

On Sat, Mar 20, 2010 at 07:45:30PM +0100, Bernd Zeimetz wrote:
> with <20100124144741.GD13468@kunpuu.plessy.org> Charles Plessy came up
> with a draft GR "Simplification of license and copyright requirements
> for the Debian packages.".
> From the other candidates I'd like to know their opinion and plans (if
> there are any) about license/copyright requirements in Debian.

I don't think that such an important change in Debian should be pushed
by the DPL which, at best, should drive a discussion that lead to a
project-wide decision.  While it is true (as Charles stated in [1]) that
electing a DPL with this in his/her platform would show some kind of
support to the initiative, it would be quite a twist: if we want to vote
on this, let's do that with the appropriate tool (a GR) rather than
piggybacking the decision in a different kind of vote.

On the content of the GR itself, I confess that point (1) (copyright
attributions) looks like a no-brainer to me.  My reading of it is "if
the license and/or the law do not require mentioning the copyright
*author*, let's avoid the self-infliction of doing that", with no other
change to the mention of *licenses* in debian/copyright. That is a
completely reasonable position.

A different question is how useful it will be in practice. AFAIK we do
have a pending question to the SPI lawyer on whether mentioning
copyright owner is mandatory anyhow no matter the license. Of course the
answer to that question will impact significantly on the potential
benefit of GR point (1).

On the contrary, I'm against point (2) of the GR. I do consider our
source packages to be part of Debian and hence subject to DFSG. If
something in upstream tarball is non-free, I believe we should do
repacking (there, we might use a bit more standardization on how we
implement get-orig-source in such cases, but that's a different
issue). In fact, doing that might even be a way to push our upstream to
get rid of those non-free bits from their tarballs as well.

As a final comment, I believe Charles GR proposal is sub-optimal in the
sense that it mixes (1) and (2), where one seems to be totally
controversial and the other might be quite consensual.


[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2010/02/msg00001.html

Stefano Zacchiroli -o- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
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