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Re: copyright ranges in build-aux/ tools

From: Simon Josefsson
Subject: Re: copyright ranges in build-aux/ tools
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2012 10:33:34 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.130003 (Ma Gnus v0.3) Emacs/24.0.94 (gnu/linux)

Bruno Haible <address@hidden> writes:

> Hi Simon,
>> I notice there are some gaps in copyright ranges in some build-aux
>> tools, for example:
>> csharpcomp.sh.in:# Copyright (C) 2003-2006, 2009-2012 Free Software
>> Foundation, Inc.
>> csharpexec.sh.in:# Copyright (C) 2003, 2005, 2009-2012 Free Software
>> Foundation, Inc.
>> gnupload:# Copyright (C) 2004-2010, 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
> I have no objection against your proposed patch, but what is the point,
> the benefit of such a change?

The background for this was that I searched through some of my packages
to find places where I had forgot to update the copyright range.  I
essentially searched for 'Copyright (C).*,.*Free Software'.  While doing
that, I got positive hits for the build-aux/ files in gnulib.

>> I thought distribution via version control source counted as releases,
>> thus we should include the missing years for completeness here?
> The advice that the FSF gets from lawyers appears to vary over time,
> as much as the advice of different lawyers on the same questions also varies.
> I therefore got tired of following the lawyers' advice on tiny detail topics.

I agree.  However, for this particular advice, it leads to a technical
although cosmetic advantage that I happen to like.  I have always found
long copyright lines ugly and difficult to line wrap.  By using
copyright ranges, that problems goes away.  Today effectively all
gnulib-related code we is handled by online version control systems, so
publication happens immediately, thus every year since the creation of
the file is allowed to be in the copyright header, which could then be
collapsed into a range.

So the point and benefit of the patch is to shorten the list of years in
the copyright header, so that it doesn't eventually lead to line
wrapping issues.  It is an aesthetic change, and a minor one, but if
there are no stronger reason against applying it, I think we should
accept such changes.


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