[Fedora-packaging] Re: License tag in packages

Christopher Stone chris.stone at gmail.com
Thu Jun 29 08:38:14 UTC 2006

On 6/29/06, Tim Jackson <lists at timj.co.uk> wrote:
> Christopher Stone wrote:
> > This has been brought up in discussions before:
> > https://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-packaging/2006-March/msg00004.html
> Thanks for the link, although there was no obvious conclusion there. The
> most interesting thing was the survey of existing licenses, which
> illustrates the current inconsistent and confused usage - which is my
> key point here.

It is not inconsistant:
734 GPL
1 GPL version 2 or newer

The one package that uses "GPL version 2 or newer" should be fixed to
just say "GPL" to conform with all 734 other packages.

This was pretty well established in the thread.

> > We want to encourage people to read the ACTUAL license itself, not our
> > header tags.
> Then perhaps the License field should always be omitted, or populated
> with "See documentation".

Yes, or how about "Fedora friendly" with a link showing valid Fedora
licenses.  But I don't think it's is going too far to provide a
minimal amount of information such as GPL or BSD.

> > All licenses header tags should be as generalized as possible with
> > just "GPL" for this very purpose.
> Whilst I do genuinely follow your train of thought, and I actually wish
> the situation was that simple, you've not addressed:
> a) the fact that this is misleading

No, it's misleading to let users think they can actually determine a
software package's license agreement from the RPM's header tag.

> b) the very shaky legal basis of arbitrarily renaming licenses (someone
> in the thread you linked to pointed out that it may not be binding, but
> a packager misleading users could arguably have some liability)

If it is legally binding, then we are legally bound to include the
entire text of the License in the header tag.  This is why the header
tag should not be used to indicate anything more than the most general
license "concept".

> c) the fact that what you're saying is inconsistent with what at least
> some Core packagers are doing

I agree, let's make a standard and stick to it.  But please try to see
the logic in the arguments I have presented.  It is simply a tag and
should not be taken for anything more than that.

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