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Re: Modern conventions for structuring Emacs Lisp libraries

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Modern conventions for structuring Emacs Lisp libraries
Date: Sat, 05 Oct 2013 12:52:05 -0400

        [ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider
        [ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,
        [ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example.

Regarding the file keywords, the change you've proposed has some fatal

  | ;; ** MetaData
  | ;;   :PROPERTIES:
  | ;;   :copyright: Thorsten_Jolitz
  | ;;   :copyright-since: 2013
  | ;;   :version:  0.9
  | ;;   :licence:  GPL3+
  | ;;   :licence-url: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/

It is legally inadequate, since it doesn't have a standard copyright
notice.  A standard copyright notice looks like

    Copyright YEARS NAME

It is inadequate for informing users about their rights, and the lack
of warranty, and about our philosophy, because it lacks the explicit
license notice which states those things.  It may also be legally
insufficient for making the license clear.

We want people to see these words in the source file:

      | ;; This file is part of GNU Emacs.
      | ;; GNU Emacs is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
      | ;; it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
      | ;; the Free Software Foundation,  either version 3 of the License,  or
      | ;; (at your option) any later version.
      | ;; GNU Emacs is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
      | ;; but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
      | ;; GNU General Public License for more details.
      | ;; You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
      | ;; along with GNU Emacs.  If not,  see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.

This part has to be kept as it is.

Those issues don't apply to the library header lines:

  | ;; Maintainer: FSF
  | ;; Keywords: help,  internal
  | ;; Package: emacs

We could change them if it is an improvement.  However, I think your
format is worse for humans.  We should not make it worse for humans
just to cater to programs that some people use.  You can change the
programs instead.

Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
www.fsf.org  www.gnu.org
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
  Use Ekiga or an ordinary phone call.

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