Copyright format 1.0 published

Four and a half years after Sam Hocevar started a draft proposal on the Debian Wiki, we've published revision 1.0 of the machine-readable format for debian/copyright files. The format (as DEP-5) has been in widespread use for some time, but there have been multiple versions of the format and multiple transitional versioned URLs. Everyone can now update to the same version of the document and use a stable format URL.

Below is the text of the annoucement that I just sent to debian-devel-announce.

Version 1.0 of the machine-readable format for debian/copyright files (the culmination of the DEP-5 process) has now been published. The canonical URL (and also the URL to use in the Format field in such files) is:

http://www.debian.org/doc/packaging-manuals/copyright-format/1.0/

For those who have adopted various iterations of the DEP-5 format for your packages, please consider updating to this format the next time you revise your package.

Use of this format in Debian packages is optional.

Thanks to all of the people who have contributed to this work over its long evolution. Particular thanks go to Steve Langasek, Charles Plessy, and Lars Wirzenius, who kept this document moving through its extended DEP discussion process, and Sam Hocevar, who started this work in 2007.

The copyright format specification is now being maintained as part of the debian-policy package and will follow the same update process that's used for other parts of Policy. See:

https://wiki.debian.org/PolicyChangesProcess

for that process.

For this specification, we're trying something new for Debian technical policies. This document is versioned, and older versions of the specification will be maintained to not invalidate older references in copyright files that have not been moved to newer versions. This is similar to the way that specifications are handled by some other projects, particularly the freedesktop.org standards.

The plan, going forward, is that informative changes (changes that do not change the requirements or the contents of compliant copyright files) will be made following the same relaxed procedure as other informative changes to Policy, and new versions will only informative changes will be published with the same version number. So the existing 1.0 document may receive further improvements in wording, examples, or similar changes that don't modify its meaning.

Normative changes (changes that change requirements for compliant files, which includes addition of new standardized license short names) will follow the normative Policy change process, including formal seconds.

Once normative changes are accepted, the next release of this specification will receive a new version number (1.1, for example). The previous version, prior to the normative changes, will be frozen, and from that point forward will not be changed except as required to continue to publish it. This includes further informative changes. We will continue publishing these frozen older versions of the standard on www.debian.org and in the debian-policy package for some time: possibly forever, and at least as long as they're still referred to by packages distributed by the project.

The hope is that this will provide a good balance between specification stability, editing for clarity, and specification changes to meet changing requirements, while not invalidating the URLs in older files and while continuing to provide the information required to interpret older files.

Posted: 2012-02-24 20:37 — Why no comments?

Last modified and spun 2013-09-22