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Re: What license to use for Emacs libraries?

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: What license to use for Emacs libraries?
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2015 21:11:45 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.0.50 (gnu/linux)

> OK, thanks for the clarification.  As I said a moment ago, the
> distinction between GPLvn and GPLvn+ escaped me.  That explains a lot.
> (Still, all this licensing stuff feels much like craziness to me.)

Yes, I think most people agree it's crazy.  So the sane thing to do is
to go with the standard (which in this case is GPLv3+ or GPLv2+) and
move on.

> Still, it is kind of funny: it is not enough to look into the
> file named LICENSE to learn what license the code is under.

The standard COPYING file just contains the definition of the GPLvN
license, but doesn't say which files it applies to.

Instead, each file says individually under which license it is
distributed (referring back to the COPYING file, basically).

To a large extent the COPYING file is redundant, since the definition of
the GPLvN is something you can find easily even if the COPYING file
is missing.

>>> Does that mean that GitHub is a part of a sinister software-patent
>>> conspiracy or something?
>> That wouldn't be a surprise, now, would it?
> Now that Phillip warned me (implicitly) about GitHub police visiting me
> at 5am with handcuffs I'm afraid to say anything more on this topic. ;-)

I don't think they'd bother with handcuffs,


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