On 04/25/2013 12:40 AM, Richard Fontana wrote:
My own intuition about this is that Linux distros (distributing
thousands of modularly distinct packages with complex dependency
relationships, most of the code being GPL'd) simply cannot do the
analysis that FSF GPL doctrine might seem to imply ought to be
I think you are blowing the complexity out of proportion.
The entire point of distros is to organize the source and binary package
information including the build dependency info. The complete and
corresponding source and build information is usually maintained pretty
well in the individual source packages (and note that binary packages do
not always have a one-to-one correspondence with source packages, so
when reasoning about any of this it is important to look at how source
packages are mapped to binaries, etc).
And, while it is true that most distros do not attempt to distinguish
between what is part of the covered work vs the installation information
vs aggregate works, it is also true that some distros, like Debian are
actually taking big steps to improve this situation.
Debian is starting to add machine readable copyright and licensing info
to their packages. Recently we began importing Debian packages with
licensing info into the Free Software Directory, so I have had a chance
to look over *a lot* of these packages. So far I have been pretty
impressed at the care a lot of package maintainers are taking in their
attempts to list copyright and licensing info within source packages.
But, this is also a big step toward having more detailed info organized
and provided that brings the licensing info together with the dependency
info. Which will also make it a lot easier for large distros with lots
of different packages of varying stages of maturity to be able to more
easily keep track of licensing compatibilities and everything else.
But, anyhow, I'm being just as vague and general as you are. Perhaps
this conversation would be better off looking at some examples or
perhaps someone would be willing to put together a little case study (or
an outline of one).