[Fedora-packaging] License Tag Draft

Ralf Corsepius rc040203 at freenet.de
Fri Jul 27 06:12:18 UTC 2007

On Fri, 2007-07-27 at 01:21 -0500, Tom "spot" Callaway wrote:
> > I don't see this.
> Perhaps I've not been clear on when you would need to generate a
> license/file list.
> When a package has a consistent license (or dual/triple license) for all
> of its files (not including docs or content), it does not need to have a
> license file list.
The problem with dual licensed packages is: "Which license applies in a
particular situation" - Your approach doesn't cope with this case.

> It is only when the package has multiple files with differing licenses
> that this is useful, and thus, required.
OK, but the later is the common case on most "non-trivial" packages,
which often apply the GPL as "umbrella". Also, these latter packages,
are those who often come along with diverging "run-time" licenses (in
most cases the "umbrella" rules) and "source-code" licenses (often
different licenses on different files). 

Your approach is not considering the latter case.

> > > > Not worth mentioning KDE/Qt which typically are licensed GPL*+QPL.
> > > > 
> > > > Also I am still missing a detailed list of all tags you want to force us
> > > > to use for BSD*ish, X11*ish and other licenses 
> > > 
> > > These aren't licenses. Either it is BSD or X11 or it is something else.
> > BS. Of cause they are licenses.
> OK, let me rephrase. Yes, these items are licenses, but "BSD-ish" is not
> a license. 
Right, you would have to cite the complete license with its exact
wording being applied.

> Merely changing the copyright holder in the BSD license text
> does _not_ make the license not BSD.
That's true, but if you don't track copyright holders, your automatic
tracking system is more or less worthless.

* Consider X10/X11's history: The code base still originates back to the
X10/Athena/MIT days, but the code's owners have changed several times,
the code had been forked many times. If you had tried to track this as
"X11" your automated tracking would not have caught the potential
license incompatibilities being introduced to other packages relying on
X11 being "X11/MIT/Athena"-license (You might recall these
incompatibilities having been the cause for X11 to fork several times.)

* Consider the original UCB license: UCB has declared _their_
"ad-clause" invalid. So if you had tracked their packages as "BSD", you
would not have caught any of the packages having been affect by their
change in policy.

>  It is only when the terms of the
> license are altered by the copyright holder that the license stops being
> BSD. At that point, the license isn't BSD, it is something new.
Yes, it's yet another variant ... one amongst 100s if not 1000s existing

> Depending on what those changes are, the new license is either ok for
> Fedora or it is not. When this new license gets submitted for approval,
> it will be added to the Licensing table, and given a new short name,
> with a link to the Licensing text.
> "BSD-ish" is as useless as "Distributable", in that it tells us nothing
> about the potential license compatibility. Two packages with "BSD-ish"
> as a license could be identical or wholly incompatible, and this is
> precisely the problem that we're trying to avoid.
Exactly: The Fedora License Register would have to track each of these
licenses with their copyright holders individually. The point why I am
laughing at you and your wiki.


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