[arch-dev-public] License array format

Jason Chu jason at archlinux.org
Sun Apr 15 15:46:43 EDT 2007

On Sun, Apr 15, 2007 at 03:15:42PM -0400, Dan McGee wrote:
> I don't know if this is a rehash of an old topic, but it hasn't come
> up in a while so I want to stir the pot. We need some standardization
> when it comes to licenses, which are still not in all of the official
> packages. (OpenSSH is missing one!)
> Roman and I were discussing on IRC how the license array should look,
> and this example came up:
> license=('custom:BSD' 'custom:MIT' 'GPL')


It has been mentioned before.

I never really liked the idea, so I didn't say anything because no one else

> A few issues to discuss with regard to this example:
> 1. A license like the GPL does not change its text depending on the
> package, while ones such as BSD and MIT do. Thus we definitely need to
> be including these customized licenses when we package these.

True.  That has always been said, hasn't it?

> 2. For packages that have their own license (no other package will use
> it), do we use 'custom' or 'custom:packagename'?

Doesn't everything already know the package name at that point?  Isn't
custom enough?

> 3. For packages that use a BSD style license (and all other licenses
> like MIT), do we use the custom:prefix? Roman and I have differing
> opinions here. I think we should use the custom: prefix to indicate in
> pacman -Qi output that a license has been installed by the package and
> is not a common license already on the system. Roman thought that the
> custom: was unnecessary and looks ugly.

The problem with not including "custom:" for the sake of pacman is that
you'd have to hard code that BSD and MIT were different somewhere.
Otherwise pacman would think that BSD == /usr/share/licenses/common/BSD,
not /usr/share/licenses/<package name>/*.  Then the list of customizable (I
just made up that word... licenses that are customized by default) licenses
has to be maintained inside pacman somewhere.

> Thoughts? I'd like to standardize this and get it on the wiki licenses
> page. <http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Licenses>

I think the usage of the licenses variable should be designed based around
how we want to use it.

When I first proposed it, it was so that users could specify
"AllowedLicenses = GPL MIT" in their pacman.conf.  Then pacman would only
let you install those packages.  There would have to be a special case
for the "custom" licenses, pacman would have to ask you if it was ok,
because each one was different.  That's why MIT and BSD were listed like
the other common ones, but stored in a different place.

If pacman (or other tools) wanted to know *where* the files were stored,
then being more explicit with "custom" would make sense.  I just never
found a good reason for pacman to need to know exactly where the license
file was.  I figured the users would be the ones looking for them and
reading them.

If someone wanted to do the above *and* keep track of a list of
customizable licenses, then not being explicit with "custom:BSD" would be
ok, otherwise all packages would have to say "custom:*" if their licenses
weren't found in /usr/share/licenses/common.


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