[tex-live] cataloguing licenses (was linguex in texlive snapshot)

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Wed Sep 3 11:35:27 CEST 2008

Frank Küster <frank at kuesterei.ch> wrote:

> Robin Fairbairns <Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> > i've done a few myself, but it's ineffably tedious -- as witness the
> > tiny number of entries thus marked in the several thousand total in the
> > catalogue.
> It is tedious, indeed.
> > Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard <mpg at elzevir.fr> wrote:
> >> Agreed, and also there should be a way to indicate contradictory statements,
> >> like "lppl any version" and "you shall not modify" in the same file, as it
> >> sometimes happens.
> >
> > which, is being interpreted, "other-nonfree".  i changed a package from
> > lppl to nosell this morning, since the author had added the proviso that
> > no part of it should be included in a package for sale.
> >
> > i can't record that in the present structure.
> I would simply treat this as other-nonfree. Either someone cares about
> the package, then they have to dig through the details anyway, or no one
> cares and it stays like this forever. 

that's what i tend to do.

> What might be useful, though, is a possibility to indicate the reason
> for sorting a package in one of the nonfree/nosell categories. I mean,
> the "file" field is meant to contain one file, or the word "header"
> (meaning the header of each single file covered). But there's no way to
> indicate "header contradicts $file" or "README contradicts COPYING".

(a) i've ignored the supposed syntax/semantics of that entry; is anyone
ever going to auto-process it?  if there's no licence info, it behoves
us to point out that we've really looked at all the files in question
(i've been putting "*"), and if there is more than one file with
relevant information, it's again useful to record every name

(b) i've asked jim to add a "notes" field (or tag or whatever these
things are called) to the licence entry in the catalogue dtd, so that we
_can_ record the details of the deduction

(c) at karl's request, i've added a "noinfo" licence category; "noinfo"
means "we really can't find any hints about how the author wanted this
stuff distributed"; previously "unknown" meant either "there's no
information", or "we can't make sense of what there is" (the idea is
that "unknown" eventually disappears, and all previously unknown
packages become either noinfo or one of the existing explicit one
(typicall other-nonfree).

there are fewer than 1000 "unknown" items, so i expect i'll be done
before end 2010 (if i'm still around by then...).

> >> >    - author could be contacted at $date by $collaborator under
> >> >      $e-mail at address.
> >>
> >> Or also (unfortunately) "missing author address".
> I first thought that leaving this empty could be used for this - but you
> are right, an empty field can also mean "no one ever cared to fill that
> in". 

it's amazing how cavalier people were about offering packages in the
pre-ctan days...

> > this lot merely skims the surface of the collaboration issue.
> >
> > at present, there are two people who write catalogue entries: rainer s
> > (for the packages he installs) and me (for everything else, and for
> > packages who never had an entry in the first place).
> >
> > it's easy for us to collaborate.  if someone else (e.g., karl) finds a
> > problem, they can mail one of us and we'll put it right.
> >
> > to widen the collaboration, we need something better supporting the
> > enterprise, than a subversion server.  (imo)
> You mean, a web interface or similar?  It would have to be one with
> authentication, and we shouldn't give access to too many people.  
> It doesn't help us anything if after a year we find out that we really
> need to re-check these other 213 entries done by $random_contributor
> because we found that number 109 and 215 were checked too superficially
> and the two entries are actually wrong.
> Given that, I doubt that subversion is a big threshold. But I'm working
> on Linux; maybe Windows or Mac users have a different view on this.

widnoze people have tortoise svn, which all our secretaries at work deal
with quite happily (we do the lab website this way); i don't know how
these things are dealt with on macs.

> > as the (only) person who does significant quality work on the catalogue,
> > i've lots of scrappy little notes about what's in progress, what needs
> > to be done, whatever...  if we set up a collaboration, we need something
> > to hold scrappy little notes, not well structured statements about
> > entries.  work in progress, that is.  not necessarily related to a
> > catalogue entry.
> Hm, yes. A Wiki? 

maybe, but even so i've got to transcribe all my scribble-files.

> > i have no idea how to do such a thing.  but then i've already said i
> > want no part of setting up collaboration: i merely offer to collaborate
> > if i'm wanted when the time comes.
> AOL. I never set up a wiki or even authenticated web service so far; I
> have no idea of the security aspects, and I cannot promise any continous
> administration support for anything I do.

i'm sure i could set up a wiki (there's a fair amount of experience
here, since all the eager young research students seem to think that
writing documents (like web pages) is "like, so un-cool, man".

however, setting up a wiki that would survive me retiring (nominal 2014,
unless i get retired for ill-health), would be more tricky...

on another matter, what would you recommend about things that _say_
they're gpl, or whatever, but don't fulfill any of the trivial
requirments (like a copyright statement).  my reaction is to scream
quietly at the author, and to take the statement at its word.  but is
the statement actually valid?


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