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Old 03-19-2009, 08:33 PM
Ben Finney
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

Sune Vuorela <nospam@vuorela.dk> writes:

> After a discussion on #debian-mentors and other places, I will not
> sponsor packages using the copyright file format described on
> http://wiki.debian.org/Proposals/CopyrightFormat

For those who weren't present when you were having that IRC
discussion, can you point us to archived discussions so that we can
see the points raised and discussed?

> It is a too complex, overengineered solution to a very minor issue.

I find it very surprising that someone can be a Debian developer and
consider copyright of works to be “a very minor issue” in Debian.
Perhaps I've misinterpreted this statement. What do you mean by that?

> It is not easy readables for humans
> It is ugly

Can you point to a proposal (on another page) for an alternate format
that you feel passes these tests?

> Too time consuming to write and check

I find the structure makes it far easier to write and check than the
free-form chaos of many existing files. What would you have removed
from the format to reduce the time for writing and checking it?

> No real gain.

This allows any proposed gains to then be excluded under “not a real
gain”, of course [0]. What gains have you seen proposed, that are not
real gains by your standard? What *would* be a real gain by your
standard?

> Discussions about this is welcome, but I think debian-devel is a
> better forum for that.

Agreed; followup fields set.


[0] http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/logic.html#scots

--
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` —Emo Philips |
_o__) |
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:37 PM
Neil Williams
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

On Fri, 20 Mar 2009 08:33:41 +1100
Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> wrote:

> Sune Vuorela <nospam@vuorela.dk> writes:
>
> > After a discussion on #debian-mentors and other places, I will not
> > sponsor packages using the copyright file format described on
> > http://wiki.debian.org/Proposals/CopyrightFormat
>
> For those who weren't present when you were having that IRC
> discussion, can you point us to archived discussions so that we can
> see the points raised and discussed?

I don't have a log, I'm afraid - don't know whether anyone else kept it.

I've updated my own sponsoring requirements:
http://people.debian.org/~codehelp/#copyright

> > It is a too complex, overengineered solution to a very minor issue.
>
> I find it very surprising that someone can be a Debian developer and
> consider copyright of works to be “a very minor issue” in Debian.

The minor issue is the machine-operable format - I don't think Suno or
any other sponsor considers debian/copyright itself as minor in any
way. The format of debian/copyright is a minor issue, in so far as it
does not impinge on accuracy. Where the format reduces human
readability, I consider that a fault that I would rather avoid.

> Can you point to a proposal (on another page) for an alternate format
> that you feel passes these tests?

A point during the early stage of that wiki page, something similar to
what I currently use for one of my own packages (tslib).

The wiki is probably the main problem - the objective has been lost in
the subsequent edits.

It surprised me just how far back I had to go to see what I thought was
the version I was using:
http://wiki.debian.org/Proposals/CopyrightFormat?action=recall&rev=50

I may actually have been using a version earlier than that by the looks
of it too.

(Current revision is somewhere > 500)

> > Too time consuming to write and check
>
> I find the structure makes it far easier to write and check than the
> free-form chaos of many existing files. What would you have removed
> from the format to reduce the time for writing and checking it?

I completely disagree - the current version of the wiki page is
utterly incomprehensible and inconsistent. It's no wonder that
maintainers coming to debian-mentors are confused.

> > Discussions about this is welcome, but I think debian-devel is a
> > better forum for that.

Agreed.

--


Neil Williams
=============
http://www.data-freedom.org/
http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/
http://e-mail.is-not-s.ms/
 
Old 03-19-2009, 10:05 PM
Ben Finney
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

Neil Williams <codehelp@debian.org> writes:

> On Fri, 20 Mar 2009 08:33:41 +1100
> Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> wrote:
>
> > I find the structure [in the proposed copyright file format] makes
> > it far easier to write and check than the free-form chaos of many
> > existing files. What would you have removed from the format to
> > reduce the time for writing and checking it?
>
> I completely disagree - the current version of the wiki page is
> utterly incomprehensible and inconsistent.

That's a non sequitur; the morass of discussion on that wiki page
*obscures* the format for someone trying to read it, but is not *part
of* the format. The format itself has (IMO) the properties I
described.

> It's no wonder that maintainers coming to debian-mentors are
> confused.

Certainly, but only (I argue) because the wiki page is currently a
mess.

The page mentions, in several places now, the desire to set up a
discussion forum to continue the discussion away from the page; once
that's set up I'll be happy to pitch in and clear the weeds from that
page.

--
“Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code |
` will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.” —John |
_o__) F. Woods |
Ben Finney


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Old 03-19-2009, 10:31 PM
Neil Williams
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

On Fri, 20 Mar 2009 10:05:45 +1100
Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> wrote:

> Neil Williams <codehelp@debian.org> writes:
>
> > On Fri, 20 Mar 2009 08:33:41 +1100
> > Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> wrote:
> >
> > > I find the structure [in the proposed copyright file format] makes
> > > it far easier to write and check than the free-form chaos of many
> > > existing files. What would you have removed from the format to
> > > reduce the time for writing and checking it?
> >
> > I completely disagree - the current version of the wiki page is
> > utterly incomprehensible and inconsistent.
>
> That's a non sequitur; the morass of discussion on that wiki page
> *obscures* the format for someone trying to read it, but is not *part
> of* the format. The format itself has (IMO) the properties I
> described.

Without being able to read and understand the page, the format is
completely invisible. Therefore, the structure in the proposed file
format makes it impossible to write or check copyright files because
the format itself is invisible. I disagree that the structure is easier
to write or check than the free-form existing files because there is no
structure that I can identify. There is no clear, concise and usable
description of "properties" that is identifiable in the current page or
anywhere else I've found so far. It's been lost in the edits.

> > It's no wonder that maintainers coming to debian-mentors are
> > confused.
>
> Certainly, but only (I argue) because the wiki page is currently a
> mess.

The wiki page is all anyone has right now. It would probably be better
to remove it and do whatever work is still required offline (or at
least off the wiki) until those who profess to understand it can come up
with a different document that the rest of us can actually read.

> The page mentions, in several places now, the desire to set up a
> discussion forum to continue the discussion away from the page; once
> that's set up I'll be happy to pitch in and clear the weeds from that
> page.

In the meantime, I think that the whole idea has been drowned in
wiki-overload.

--


Neil Williams
=============
http://www.data-freedom.org/
http://www.linux.codehelp.co.uk/
http://e-mail.is-not-s.ms/
 
Old 03-19-2009, 10:42 PM
Sune Vuorela
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

On 2009-03-19, Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> wrote:
>> It is a too complex, overengineered solution to a very minor issue.
>
> I find it very surprising that someone can be a Debian developer and
> consider copyright of works to be ???a very minor issue??? in Debian.
> Perhaps I've misinterpreted this statement. What do you mean by that?

PLease read again. I'm not anywhere discussing the *content* of the
copyright file, but the *format*.

one of the issues the format should solve is "automatic detection of
license incompabilities", which is not a big issue today.

>> It is not easy readables for humans
>> It is ugly
>
> Can you point to a proposal (on another page) for an alternate format
> that you feel passes these tests?

I like the current "free for all" format, where you can adapt the format
to the requirements and differences of the packages.

>> Too time consuming to write and check
>
> I find the structure makes it far easier to write and check than the
> free-form chaos of many existing files. What would you have removed
> from the format to reduce the time for writing and checking it?

Try do it with a bit larger package. it does not scale.

I agree that it might not be a big difference on small packages with a
few copyright holders and a simple license situation, but we should
*not* advocate ways of doing things that doesn't scale.

A simple package with a 4 copyright holders and everything gpl takes a
few minutes with "free text format" and maybe 10% more if there is a
specific format to follow.

I think when uploading kde4.2 to unstable, at least 60 developer hours
was put into working on the copyright files, even with loads of help
from various scripts.

Is this the right way to spend developer time? as far as I see it,
developer time is our most valuable resource, and should not be treated
as such.


>> No real gain.
>
> This allows any proposed gains to then be excluded under ???not a real
> gain???, of course [0]. What gains have you seen proposed, that are not
> real gains by your standard? What *would* be a real gain by your
> standard?

A real gain would be something that made tedious work less tedious.
Copyright files are tedious to write. making it more complex will not
improve this.

- and patches to kdebase-workspace/experimental copyright file is most
welcome if it is incorrect.

/Sune


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Old 03-19-2009, 10:58 PM
Josselin Mouette
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

Le jeudi 19 mars 2009 * 23:42 +0000, Sune Vuorela a écrit :
> I think when uploading kde4.2 to unstable, at least 60 developer hours
> was put into working on the copyright files, even with loads of help
> from various scripts.

The real problem here is that FTP masters require the list of copyright
holders to be up-to-date each time the package goes through NEW.

Whatever justification exists for this requirement, I’m starting to find
it unacceptable. If a package has to go through NEW, it takes about
twice as much time to update this list than to do the actual packaging
work.

Why is this list needed? No other distribution is doing it, it’s useless
for users and it’s a giant waste of developer time. If the only purpose
is to follow American law, well thank you, but I’m not bound by other
laws than those of EU and France, and that makes already many.

I don’t think I’m going to spend any more minute to update this crap.
The next time I see a package REJECTed because of this frivolous reason,
you’ll have to find another mug to do this useless work.


Note: I’m not contesting the need for the license check. This one is
useful, and strictly checking the accuracy of licenses in
debian/copyright is clearly needed. But I don’t think there’s any use
having an up-to-date list of copyright holders in there.

--
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: :' :
`. `' Last night, Darth Vader came down from planet Vulcan and told
`- me that if you don't install Lenny, he'd melt your brain.
 
Old 03-19-2009, 11:29 PM
Ben Finney
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> writes:

> The page mentions, in several places now, the desire to set up a
> discussion forum to continue the discussion away from the page; once
> that's set up I'll be happy to pitch in and clear the weeds from
> that page.

I have cleared away the discussions anyway (to a separate page), and
noted the current lack of a discussion forum. Hopefully the
specification is now less cluttered, at least.

--
“Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in |
` choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.” —John |
_o__) Kenneth Galbraith, 1962-03-02 |
Ben Finney


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Old 03-20-2009, 12:06 AM
Ben Finney
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

Sune Vuorela <nospam@vuorela.dk> writes:

> On 2009-03-19, Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> wrote:
> >> It is a too complex, overengineered solution to a very minor issue.
> >
> > I find it very surprising that someone can be a Debian developer and
> > consider copyright of works to be ???a very minor issue??? in Debian.
> > Perhaps I've misinterpreted this statement. What do you mean by that?
>
> PLease read again. I'm not anywhere discussing the *content* of the
> copyright file, but the *format*.
>
> one of the issues the format should solve is "automatic detection of
> license incompabilities", which is not a big issue today.

That would be a minor issue. I haven't seen anyone propose it.

What I have seen is the proposal that this file should be
automatically *parseable*. This is IMO a big issue, because it means
the difference between hunting manually through unstructured copyright
information that can get hideously complex (as you describe below),
versus the potential with automatically-parsed information to
structure, index, search, and otherwise manage the information more
powerfully and efficiently, thus saving valuable human time.

> I like the current "free for all" format, where you can adapt the
> format to the requirements and differences of the packages.

Do you feel this benefit outweighs the lack of dependable structure,
that currently imposes all the work of filtering and parsing the file
on the human reading it?

> > I find the [proposed format] structure makes it far easier to
> > write and check than the free-form chaos of many existing files.
> > What would you have removed from the format to reduce the time for
> > writing and checking it?
>
> Try do it with a bit larger package. it does not scale.

This surely applies even more to a free-format dump area for copyright
information.

> I think when uploading kde4.2 to unstable, at least 60 developer
> hours was put into working on the copyright files, even with loads
> of help from various scripts.

You are of the opinion, then, that it would be *harder* to work with
the masses of copyright information for that package if the
information was in a regular, well-specified structure?

I'm not saying that the current draft of the specification meets that
description; but I can't see how what you say is anything but an
argument *for* a well-structured copyright file format.

> Is this the right way to spend developer time? as far as I see it,
> developer time is our most valuable resource, and should not be
> treated as such.

Certainly, the time of people is valuable. I would like to see a
format that is structured such that it's easier than free-format text
to navigate, and makes it possible to write tools to automate many of
the associated tasks that you say take up too much time.

> A real gain would be something that made tedious work less tedious.
> Copyright files are tedious to write. making it more complex will
> not improve this.

I argue that a well-designed structure significantly *reduces* the
natural tendency for free-format text to become even more complex.

--
“To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no |
` choreography, and the dancers hit each other.” —Jack Handey |
_o__) |
Ben Finney


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Old 03-20-2009, 12:08 AM
Ben Finney
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org> writes:

> Note: I’m not contesting the need for the license check. This one is
> useful, and strictly checking the accuracy of licenses in
> debian/copyright is clearly needed. But I don’t think there’s any
> use having an up-to-date list of copyright holders in there.

You don't think the correct copyright status information should be in
the package at all? Or you don't think it should be in a single
documented location?

--
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` where will we find an open tattoo parlor at this time of |
_o__) night?” —_Pinky and The Brain_ |
Ben Finney


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Old 03-20-2009, 12:54 AM
Russ Allbery
 
Default Sponsorship requirements and copyright files

Ben Finney <ben+debian@benfinney.id.au> writes:
> Josselin Mouette <joss@debian.org> writes:

>> Note: I’m not contesting the need for the license check. This one is
>> useful, and strictly checking the accuracy of licenses in
>> debian/copyright is clearly needed. But I don’t think there’s any use
>> having an up-to-date list of copyright holders in there.

> You don't think the correct copyright status information should be in
> the package at all? Or you don't think it should be in a single
> documented location?

I'm not sure it needs to be anywhere at all, except for those notices that
are legally required by the license to be preserved. In some cases, that
does include the copyright statements, but it doesn't always. If the
upstream license doesn't require that we preserve the copyright statement
(or if upstream doesn't have them), I'm not sure we need to be requiring
that they be collected into debian/copyright.

I could be missing something, though.

--
Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org) <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>


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