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From: Peter Johansson
Subject: COPYRIGHT file
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 21:51:26 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Macintosh/20090302)

Hi Peter,

I noted your commit to add COPYING to target maintainer-clean:;a=commit;;hb=92d4b0359d6fa12a6ee41056e879dd4087cc6d8d

I don't think that is a very good idea. In fact I think COPYING should be committed into git in order to make it clear under which version of GPL the project is licensed. It's true that automake can create a COPYING file if it's missing, but it's dangerous because the COPYING file be different depending on which version of automake that is used. Automake prior version 1.10.2 creates a GPLv2 COPYING whereas 1.10.2 and newer creates a GPLv3 COPYING file.

This has been discussed quite a lot on the automake list; see, for example, this thread in which Karl Berry explains why it is a bad idea not to commit the COPYING file to the version control repository:

The conclusion was to add a warning when automake creates the file. If you let automake create the COPYING file with a recent automake, you will notice that automake recommend you to commit the file to your VCS.


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