Revisiting the license unification idea

Daniel Drake ddrake at
Sat Sep 22 16:20:29 PDT 2007

Daniel Stone wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 22, 2007 at 11:23:01PM +0100, Daniel Drake wrote:
>> The license requires us to include the license text *and* copyright 
>> notices with the product (some say "with all copies" but we believe that 
>> a binary constitutes as a copy, some explicitly talk about 
>> documentation). Many packages didn't have COPYING files or had 
>> incomplete ones (e.g. without copyright notices). So I had to go through 
>> lots of code finding all the notices, and aggregating them into our 
>> product documentation.
> Thinking more about this, the GPL section 1 is probably a far better
> approximation of what we want: you can't strip any copyright or license
> from the source, but you're not required to display it in your
> documentation/manual/etc. 

It would be changing the meaning of the license, but that would be ideal 
from our standpoint: it would mean we don't have to do anything (nothing 
in documentation, no shipping of sources) to be within license compliance.

However, given that it's unlikely we could relicense the entire 
codebase, we'd still have lots of code under the "must include stuff in 
documentation" licenses, so we'd still need a way of aggregating all 
those notices. If we could guarantee that all future code would not have 
this licensing requirement we could do it as a one-time thing...

Daniel Drake
Brontes Technologies, A 3M Company

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