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Re: [Savannah-hackers-public] any need for a perl monger?

From: Sylvain Beucler
Subject: Re: [Savannah-hackers-public] any need for a perl monger?
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2008 09:33:19 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)


First you need to get an idea of how the current moderation process works:

The Savannah hosting requirements are described here:

Registering a new project is done here:

The goal is to take the submitted tarballs and apply the checks as
many HowToGetYourProjectApprovedQuickly checks as possible,
automatically and reliably.

I think it would be good to get a report like:
[X] Checking license notice in headers: PASS
[ ] Checking valid copyright notice in headers: FAIL
    Info: copyright notice is missing
[ ] Refers to 'Linux' with 'GNU/' or 'kernel' in context: FAIL

Some other tests may need to be reviewed by a human but could be
prepared by the tool:

[-] List of copyright holders (check that they refer to real persons,
    no nicknames, non-existing company name, etc.):
    Info: found
    - Sylvain Beucler (2005, 2007)
    - Steve Dickinson (2008)
    - MadCoder (2004)
(in which I'm supposed to ask the project submitter about 'MadCoder'
which looks like a pseudo)

There are 2 tools that we should check:

- - which apparently checks existing license notices and
  check the compatibility of the licenses. (e.g. GPL + OpenSSL = BAD,
  GPL + mBSD = GOOD). I haven't looked at it much.

- 'licensecheck' in Debian's devscripts, which can detect some
  licenses, and some issues:
src/bgm.c: GPL (v3 or later) 
src/gfx_utils.c: GPL (with incorrect FSF address) 
src/init.c: GPL 
src/SDL_rwops_zzip.c: UNKNOWN
src/vgasys_fon.c: LGPL (v2.1 or later) 
(it's written in Perl :))

To be clear, the main point of the tool is to make project moderation
less boring.  Our volunteers usually leave after a few months because
this isn't a very rewarding job.  In the beginning it's interesting to
learn about good licensing practices, license compatibility, but
quickly it becomes annoying the check the file headers, and even more
annoying to explain what to fix to the user.  A lot of project
submitters silently forsake their submission after the first reply,
which adds to the burden.

Yet this is something that the GNU project asks us to do with the
projects we host, and it's our goal to teach people about these issues
(remember the SCO legal issues...).  So we want to do this job in a
manner that remains pleasant for both the users and us moderators :)

I think it would be good too if you reviewed a few projects yourself,
to better understand how it works. There are a LOT of pending projects
currently at
so feel free to pick one and send me a review.

You can also join #savannah at FreeNode and discuss.


On Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 08:31:37AM -0400, Steve Dickinson wrote:
> Yes, I would be interested in lending a hand on this. How should I get  
> started?
> Thanks!
> Sylvain Beucler wrote:
>> Hi,
>> On Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 09:25:28PM -0400, Steve Dickinson wrote:
>>> I was just up on and it said to email if interested in   
>>> volunteering Perl skills for the cause.  What can I do to help out? 
>>> I've  been using Perl for over a decade at work and at play.
>>> Let me know!
>> Hi,
>> Thanks for the help, we need it :)
>> Currently we have a problem with moderating new projects because this
>> is time-consuming, and we're thinking it would be nice to (partially)
>> automate this, with a tool that would inspect source files, check for
>> good legal practices (license notices, copyright notices, license
>> compatibility, etc.) and other Savannah requirements. Both admins and
>> users could use it.
>> Would you be interested in writing such a tool?  Perl sounds suited
>> for this Extraction and Report task :)
>>> Also, will anyone from FSF be at the Ohio Linux Fest this year? I'll  
>>> definitely be there.
>> I don't know about this, maybe ask #gnu on freenode?

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