[Aptitude-devel] Packages license info

Axel Beckert abe at debian.org
Sat Apr 23 19:39:33 UTC 2016


braghe fustagno wrote:
> Please add a new column field "License" to display (and filter by)
> software license (MIT/GPLv2/BSD/...). Thank you

While this is technically possible with the machine-readable DEP5
format of the debian/copyright file, it's far more complex than just
adding a column to display:

0) It should be decided how such a field looks like in case there's
   not only a single license type involved.
1) dpkg-buildpackage needs to extract the data at build time and put
   it into the binary package's meta data.
2) dak (Debian Archive Kit, the software which puts together the
   package lists and APT repos) needs to put this information into the
   Packages files in the archive.
3) libapt-pkg needs to recognize these new fields inside the Packages
   files and offer a way to access them.
4) aptitude needs to use that libapt-pkg functionality to display the
   field's value.

I wonder if it's worth all this effort: Debian guarantees that all
software in main is under a Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG)
compatible license. Except when your planning to do changes to
software packaged in Debian, the actual license should not have any
impact on the end user. But since Debian is primarily a binary package
distribution, modifying the software means handling source packages.
And at least aptitude knows very little about source packages.

Then again, there is the debtags project (https://debtags.debian.org/)
which already gathers additional meta-data about packages. I wonder if
it wouldn't be much easier to automatcally add license tags to debtags
based on DEP5-format debian/copyright files. Aptitude can also display
debtags and filter by debtags.

Enrico (Rossi) or Enrico (Zini), any comments on this? Would a new,
automatically filled license:: category make sense?

		Regards, Axel
 ,''`.  |  Axel Beckert <abe at debian.org>, http://people.debian.org/~abe/
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