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Re: license in generated files

From: Ralf Wildenhues
Subject: Re: license in generated files
Date: Sat, 5 Dec 2009 11:46:33 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-10-28)

* Russ Allbery wrote on Sat, Dec 05, 2009 at 12:42:22AM CET:
> address@hidden (Karl Berry) writes:
> > This is really split between autoconf and automake, but I'll just write
> > here for now.
> > 1) The license statement added in Makefile.in starts:
> > ..
> > # This Makefile.in is free software; the Free Software Foundation
> > But then it is copied into the Makefile too, so it's no longer the
> > "Makefile.in".  How about "This file", or "This Makefile" -- seems
> > sufficiently generic to me to cover the Makefile.in too?  Or I suppose
> > autoconf could add yet another statement "This Makefile is free ...".

But the license concerns Makefile.in only, since the Makefile is never
distributed, no?

> It's also not necessarily true if the Makefile.am is covered under some
> other license, since the Makefile.in (and the Makefile) is a derived work
> of both Automake and the Makefile.am.  If the boilerplate is modified,
> maybe it should also be more specific about saying that this license only
> covers the portions that come from Automake?

Well, if you merge together portions with different copyrights, wasn't
it ok to just list the copyright statements one after the other, with
some indication on what covers what?  Autoconf allows adding copyright
statements to configure scripts with AC_COPYRIGHT (AT_COPYRIGHT for
testsuites), and automake adds single-# comments from the top of the
Makefile.am and from the top of 'include'd fragments to near the top of
the Makefile.in file.  As far as I'm concerned, that seems sufficient.

As far as clarity is concerned, well, it might be improved as you state
above.  As far as a lawyerese answer is needed, I've emailed Brett a
while ago anyway for updating Automake to GPLv3 (plus exceptions), where
things have progressed a bit since but are not done yet, that might be a
good opportunity to ask about this as well.

> > 2) [More important.]  How about having autoheader add the same statement
> >   to config.in?

Sounds like a good idea, although the amount of copyrightable content is
pretty limited there (thinking of original content, not just pure number
of lines).


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