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Re: a LICENSE file does not necessarily apply to everything in a repo

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: a LICENSE file does not necessarily apply to everything in a repo
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2021 11:44:33 -0400

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  > for example, there is nothing in the GPL, which states that it
  > applies to every file in the code-base - the license header of
  > each source file serves that purpose - in fact, the GPL
  > explicitly states that it only pertains to source code;

I don't think so.  We designed GPL 3 to be usable for all kinds
of works.

  > > Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person
  > > obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation
  > > files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software ...

What "this software" comprises needs to be stated explicitly and
clearly.  To leave that to be determined by default, based on the
absence of explicit statements one way or the other, is to take a risk
that it will be determined WRONG in some unforeseen context.

  > none of this is a specific criticism of codeberg or any other -
  > most forges do not have any documentation about licensing -

I would say it is a specific criticism of all forges to which
it applies.

Dr Richard Stallman (
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (
Founder, Free Software Foundation (
Internet Hall-of-Famer (

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