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Re: license in generated files

From: Karl Berry
Subject: Re: license in generated files
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 00:38:46 GMT

Hi Ralf,

    I'm not sure what you are hinting at here.  

Sorry, I didn't mean to be "hinting" at anything.  I think it's
desirable for generated (and non-generated :) files to have explicit
licenses.  Regardless of whether they are distributed.  I don't think
distribution matters to these questions.

    Of the rest of these files, most of them *do* carry some kind of license
    statement.  The license refers to the respective .in file.  The files
    also carry a prominent notice that they were generated from the
    respective .in file.  Are we discussing the question whether this is not
    enough of a statement?  If yes, are we discussing the legal value of
    these statements, or the human-understandability aspect of this?

I admit it did not occur to me that "Generated from foo.in" was stating
a license.  At first blush, I don't think it can necessarily be taken
for granted that the license completely follows derivation, since
there's always the possibility of the tool adding copyrightable material
of its own.  As, in fact, can happen with the autotools.

So, for both human understandability and pedantic legality (I hardly , I think 
explicit license header is desirable.

    The config.status file does not carry a license at the top, only
      ./config.status --version

    prints a statement.  But it's basically always an error to distribute
    this file.  I assume that this file should carry a license statement at
    its top?

That'd be my suggestion, yes.

    The config.log and config.cache files do not carry a license statement.

Dealing with those files also didn't occur to me.  But now that you've
mentioned them, I see no harm in having a license statement in them.

    anything other than (paraphrased) "FSF does not put any restrictions on
    the use of these files".



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