There seems to be some disagreement about the use of "License" in packages.
Over in :
we are getting into a bit of discussion which is not specific to that
Basically, the question is:
License: Foo License
License: Foo License vX.Y
I'm in favour of the latter. Here's why:
- legally, "Foo License v1" is wholly and entirely unrelated to "Foo
License v2", unless there is a GPL-style "you may use any future
- despite the fact that License is for informational purposes and is not
binding, we shouldn't confuse users. Importantly, we may imply that a
package is licensed in a way that it's not which, whilst it may not have
any legal consequences, is needlessly confusing. Licensing is already a
mysterious enough area as far as most users are concerned without
further confusing the issue.
- Because of the above, I am essentially saying that we should treat
"Foo License v1" and "Foo License v2" in the same way as "Foo
and "Bar License", i.e. as entirely separate licenses.
- we should respect the authors if they specify a specific license version.
To address some obvious objections:
Q: the License tag is not legally binding anyway
A: true, but we are using it, so we should use it accurately. If "Foo
License" doesn't accurately describe the license of a package then we
might as well "cat /dev/urandom" to it since we're not enlightening
users - they'll have to go and read the docs in either case
Q: including specific version number has potential for bitrot
A: in the sense that the maintainer has to keep an eye on it, true, but
that's true in any case since packages can and do change licenses over time.
Q: rpmlint moans
A: rpmlint needs to be fixed, not the package
Q: we're going to have to change loads of existing packages
A: I'm not suggesting that; there's clearly no pressing need to change
existing packages but for new ones we should have a clear policy
Regardless of the above, I think some consistency and a policy is
required, including across Core and Extras. For example, the Core php
package recently switched *to* a versioned license field. So it seems
silly for me to be being asked to take a version *out* of a package in
Frankly I don't really care what the outcome is and I think it's largely
an academic argument but I think someone with some authority (FESco)
should make a call on it and document the policy and reasoning.