Short license blocks

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Short license blocks

Gergo Tisza
In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR writes:

High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles that
> contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable territory
> which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code, not a
> boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.


...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to licenses,
which would look something like this:

/* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
 * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
 */

Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing blocks
with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
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Re: Short license blocks

Tyler Romeo
IANAL, but the GPL explicitly prescribes adding the header to every source
file to "most effectively state the exclusion of warranty".

If the legal guys can give the OK that we don't necessarily need that, then
we can definitely remove the notices and replace them with something
smaller.


*-- *
*Tyler Romeo*
Stevens Institute of Technology, Class of 2016
Major in Computer Science

On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 5:44 AM, Gergo Tisza <[hidden email]> wrote:

> In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR writes:
>
> High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles that
> > contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable territory
> > which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code, not a
> > boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.
>
>
> ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to licenses,
> which would look something like this:
>
> /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
>  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
>  */
>
> Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing blocks
> with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: Short license blocks

Tim Landscheidt
In reply to this post by Gergo Tisza
Gergo Tisza <[hidden email]> wrote:

> In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR writes:

> High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles that
>> contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable territory
>> which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code, not a
>> boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.

> ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to licenses,
> which would look something like this:

> /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
>  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
>  */

> Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing blocks
> with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.

The GPL explicitly recommends
(cf. http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl#howto):

| […]

| To do so, attach the following notices to the program. It is
| safest to attach them to the start of each source file to
| most effectively state the exclusion of warranty; and each
| file should have at least the “copyright” line and a pointer
| to where the full notice is found.

|     <one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does.>
|     Copyright (C) <year>  <name of author>
|
|     This program 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.
|
|     This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
|     but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
|     MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the
|     GNU General Public License for more details.
|
|     You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
|     along with this program.  If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.

| […]

I don't see a good reason to deviate from the licence cre-
ator's advice.  Source code files in any language will al-
ways have recurring elements which will be uninteresting to
someone who needs to read or edit /other/ parts of them.

Tim


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Re: Short license blocks

Tim Landscheidt
In reply to this post by Tyler Romeo
Tyler Romeo <[hidden email]> wrote:

> IANAL, but the GPL explicitly prescribes adding the header to every source
> file to "most effectively state the exclusion of warranty".

> If the legal guys can give the OK that we don't necessarily need that, then
> we can definitely remove the notices and replace them with something
> smaller.

> […]

Who are "the legal guys"?  Do they assume liability for fu-
ture claims with regard to that matter so that authors are
effectively indemnified?

Tim


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Re: Short license blocks

Tyler Romeo
> Who are "the legal guys"? Do they assume liability for fu-
> ture claims with regard to that matter so that authors are
> effectively indemnified?

That's a very good point. Sometimes I forget that MediaWiki
does not use CLA (which is another discussion).

In that case I go back on what I said, and maintain that I'd
like the license header to be kept.

Regards,
--
Tyler Romeo
https://parent5446.nyc
0x405D34A7C86B42DF

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Re: Short license blocks

Ryan Kaldari-2
In reply to this post by Gergo Tisza
<flamebait>
I totally support switching to license identifiers instead of headers,
provided that we also switch our licensing from GPL to MIT or BSD ;)
</flamebait>

On a serious note, we do have a fair number of extensions that are MIT
Licensed and could go ahead and adopt this (
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Category:MIT_licensed_extensions).


On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:44 AM, Gergo Tisza <[hidden email]> wrote:

> In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR writes:
>
> High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles that
> > contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable territory
> > which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code, not a
> > boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.
>
>
> ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to licenses,
> which would look something like this:
>
> /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
>  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
>  */
>
> Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing blocks
> with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: Short license blocks

Tyler Romeo
Are you saying adopting the short license blocks? Or the MIT license?
Because I'm not sure how the licenses of extensions would affect the
license headers in core.
On Oct 27, 2015 12:43, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> <flamebait>
> I totally support switching to license identifiers instead of headers,
> provided that we also switch our licensing from GPL to MIT or BSD ;)
> </flamebait>
>
> On a serious note, we do have a fair number of extensions that are MIT
> Licensed and could go ahead and adopt this (
> https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Category:MIT_licensed_extensions).
>
>
> On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:44 AM, Gergo Tisza <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR writes:
> >
> > High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles that
> > > contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable
> territory
> > > which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code, not a
> > > boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.
> >
> >
> > ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to
> licenses,
> > which would look something like this:
> >
> > /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
> >  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
> >  */
> >
> > Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing
> blocks
> > with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: Short license blocks

Ryan Kaldari-2
I was saying that we could go ahead and make this the standard for non-GPL
MediaWiki code (basically, the few MIT licensed extensions). I'm not sure
if the advantage of doing that would outweigh the disadvantage of having a
non-standard standard though.

On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 11:06 AM, Tyler Romeo <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Are you saying adopting the short license blocks? Or the MIT license?
> Because I'm not sure how the licenses of extensions would affect the
> license headers in core.
> On Oct 27, 2015 12:43, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > <flamebait>
> > I totally support switching to license identifiers instead of headers,
> > provided that we also switch our licensing from GPL to MIT or BSD ;)
> > </flamebait>
> >
> > On a serious note, we do have a fair number of extensions that are MIT
> > Licensed and could go ahead and adopt this (
> > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Category:MIT_licensed_extensions).
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:44 AM, Gergo Tisza <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >
> > > In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR writes:
> > >
> > > High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles that
> > > > contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable
> > territory
> > > > which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code,
> not a
> > > > boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.
> > >
> > >
> > > ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to
> > licenses,
> > > which would look something like this:
> > >
> > > /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
> > >  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
> > >  */
> > >
> > > Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing
> > blocks
> > > with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > [hidden email]
> > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
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Re: Short license blocks

Antoine Musso-3
In reply to this post by Gergo Tisza
Le 27/10/2015 10:44, Gergo Tisza a écrit :

> In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR writes:
>
> High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles that
>> contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable territory
>> which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code, not a
>> boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.
>
>
> ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to licenses,
> which would look something like this:
>
> /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
>  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
>  */
>
> Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing blocks
> with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.

Hello,

I would not bother mass editing source files. It is imho a waste of
time.  I think we standardized the MediaWiki core files at one point to
include the recommended GPL headers.  The commit history should have
such trace.

A few other projects I contribute to, do include a long header in files
even for MIT/Apache 2 license.

Overall I don't think we have to implement every nitpick the blogosphere
can come up with.


--
Antoine "hashar" Musso


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Re: Short license blocks

Tyler Romeo
In reply to this post by Ryan Kaldari-2
The Apache license, which is also permissive, has a similar recommended
file header.

I'd say we just standardize on having the warranty disclaimer and license
notice in every file. It's an easy approach to make sure somebody reading
the file can easily tell the license without having to maintain
comprehensive authorship information in every file.
On Oct 27, 2015 14:17, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I was saying that we could go ahead and make this the standard for non-GPL
> MediaWiki code (basically, the few MIT licensed extensions). I'm not sure
> if the advantage of doing that would outweigh the disadvantage of having a
> non-standard standard though.
>
> On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 11:06 AM, Tyler Romeo <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Are you saying adopting the short license blocks? Or the MIT license?
> > Because I'm not sure how the licenses of extensions would affect the
> > license headers in core.
> > On Oct 27, 2015 12:43, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > <flamebait>
> > > I totally support switching to license identifiers instead of headers,
> > > provided that we also switch our licensing from GPL to MIT or BSD ;)
> > > </flamebait>
> > >
> > > On a serious note, we do have a fair number of extensions that are MIT
> > > Licensed and could go ahead and adopt this (
> > > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Category:MIT_licensed_extensions).
> > >
> > >
> > > On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:44 AM, Gergo Tisza <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > > In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR writes:
> > > >
> > > > High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles
> that
> > > > > contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable
> > > territory
> > > > > which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code,
> > not a
> > > > > boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to
> > > licenses,
> > > > which would look something like this:
> > > >
> > > > /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
> > > >  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
> > > >  */
> > > >
> > > > Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing
> > > blocks
> > > > with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > [hidden email]
> > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > [hidden email]
> > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
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Re: Short license blocks

Zhou Zhou
Hi everyone,

Thanks to Gergo for bringing up this issue.  Everyone has raised good
points and I just want to link to existing guidance from the Software
Freedom Law Center
<https://softwarefreedom.org/resources/2012/ManagingCopyrightInformation.html>
on
best practices for developers to address the problem of long license and
copyright headers by linking to external files.   As noted in the guidance
document, by referencing the appropriate information files located in a
centralized location, not only do we reduce clutter in the header but we
also increase maintainability of license and copyright info.

Therefore for the header, as an example, we could have something like this:

>
> This file is part of the MediaWiki Project.  Copyright 2015 The MediaWiki
> Project Developers.
>
> For full copyright information and for the licensing terms governing the
> project and all its files, see the COPYING file at the top-level directory
> of this distribution and at
> https://github.com/wikimedia/mediawiki/blob/master/COPYING.


where in turn the COPYING file could contain references to the updated list
of authors, a description of the project, and the licensing information.

As to the specifics of SPDX use for all our projects and licenses, we will
have to do a little more research on this.  Happy to talk off-thread about
this as well.

Thanks,

Zhou



> From: Tyler Romeo <[hidden email]>
> Date: Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 12:03 PM
> Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] Short license blocks
> To: Wikimedia developers <[hidden email]>
>
>
> The Apache license, which is also permissive, has a similar recommended
> file header.
>
> I'd say we just standardize on having the warranty disclaimer and license
> notice in every file. It's an easy approach to make sure somebody reading
> the file can easily tell the license without having to maintain
> comprehensive authorship information in every file.
> On Oct 27, 2015 14:17, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I was saying that we could go ahead and make this the standard for
> non-GPL
> > MediaWiki code (basically, the few MIT licensed extensions). I'm not sure
> > if the advantage of doing that would outweigh the disadvantage of having
> a
> > non-standard standard though.
> >
> > On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 11:06 AM, Tyler Romeo <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Are you saying adopting the short license blocks? Or the MIT license?
> > > Because I'm not sure how the licenses of extensions would affect the
> > > license headers in core.
> > > On Oct 27, 2015 12:43, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > >
> > > > <flamebait>
> > > > I totally support switching to license identifiers instead of
> headers,
> > > > provided that we also switch our licensing from GPL to MIT or BSD ;)
> > > > </flamebait>
> > > >
> > > > On a serious note, we do have a fair number of extensions that are
> MIT
> > > > Licensed and could go ahead and adopt this (
> > > > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Category:MIT_licensed_extensions).
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:44 AM, Gergo Tisza <[hidden email]>
> > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR
> writes:
> > > > >
> > > > > High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles
> > that
> > > > > > contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable
> > > > territory
> > > > > > which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code,
> > > not a
> > > > > > boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to
> > > > licenses,
> > > > > which would look something like this:
> > > > >
> > > > > /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
> > > > >  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
> > > > >  */
> > > > >
> > > > > Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing
> > > > blocks
> > > > > with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
> > > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > > [hidden email]
> > > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > [hidden email]
> > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > [hidden email]
> > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>


--

Zhou Zhou
Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation
149 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
[hidden email]

NOTICE: This message might have confidential or legally privileged
information in it. If you have received this message by accident, please
delete it and let us know about the mistake. As an attorney for the
Wikimedia Foundation, for legal/ethical reasons I cannot give legal advice
to, or serve as a lawyer for, community members, volunteers, or staff
members in their personal capacity. For more on what this means, please see
our legal disclaimer
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Legal_Disclaimer>.
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Re: Short license blocks

Stephen Niedzielski
Zhou, thanks for your comment. Would it be possible to put the entire
license on one line? Using your example:

> This file is part of the MediaWiki Project. Copyright 2015 The MediaWiki
Project Developers. For full copyright information and for the licensing
terms governing the project and all its files, see the COPYING file at the
top-level directory of this distribution and at
https://github.com/wikimedia/mediawiki/blob/master/COPYING.

Is there anything creative we could do to shorten that line? Maybe replace
Copyright with ©, and use a (permanent) shortened link for the URL and drop
the reference to the top-level directory?


--stephen

On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 5:04 PM, Zhou Zhou <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
>
> Thanks to Gergo for bringing up this issue.  Everyone has raised good
> points and I just want to link to existing guidance from the Software
> Freedom Law Center
> <
> https://softwarefreedom.org/resources/2012/ManagingCopyrightInformation.html
> >
> on
> best practices for developers to address the problem of long license and
> copyright headers by linking to external files.   As noted in the guidance
> document, by referencing the appropriate information files located in a
> centralized location, not only do we reduce clutter in the header but we
> also increase maintainability of license and copyright info.
>
> Therefore for the header, as an example, we could have something like this:
>
> >
> > This file is part of the MediaWiki Project.  Copyright 2015 The MediaWiki
> > Project Developers.
> >
> > For full copyright information and for the licensing terms governing the
> > project and all its files, see the COPYING file at the top-level
> directory
> > of this distribution and at
> > https://github.com/wikimedia/mediawiki/blob/master/COPYING.
>
>
> where in turn the COPYING file could contain references to the updated list
> of authors, a description of the project, and the licensing information.
>
> As to the specifics of SPDX use for all our projects and licenses, we will
> have to do a little more research on this.  Happy to talk off-thread about
> this as well.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Zhou
>
>
>
> > From: Tyler Romeo <[hidden email]>
> > Date: Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 12:03 PM
> > Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] Short license blocks
> > To: Wikimedia developers <[hidden email]>
> >
> >
> > The Apache license, which is also permissive, has a similar recommended
> > file header.
> >
> > I'd say we just standardize on having the warranty disclaimer and license
> > notice in every file. It's an easy approach to make sure somebody reading
> > the file can easily tell the license without having to maintain
> > comprehensive authorship information in every file.
> > On Oct 27, 2015 14:17, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > > I was saying that we could go ahead and make this the standard for
> > non-GPL
> > > MediaWiki code (basically, the few MIT licensed extensions). I'm not
> sure
> > > if the advantage of doing that would outweigh the disadvantage of
> having
> > a
> > > non-standard standard though.
> > >
> > > On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 11:06 AM, Tyler Romeo <[hidden email]>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Are you saying adopting the short license blocks? Or the MIT license?
> > > > Because I'm not sure how the licenses of extensions would affect the
> > > > license headers in core.
> > > > On Oct 27, 2015 12:43, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > <flamebait>
> > > > > I totally support switching to license identifiers instead of
> > headers,
> > > > > provided that we also switch our licensing from GPL to MIT or BSD
> ;)
> > > > > </flamebait>
> > > > >
> > > > > On a serious note, we do have a fair number of extensions that are
> > MIT
> > > > > Licensed and could go ahead and adopt this (
> > > > > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Category:MIT_licensed_extensions).
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:44 AM, Gergo Tisza <[hidden email]
> >
> > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > > In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR
> > writes:
> > > > > >
> > > > > > High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is
> sourcefiles
> > > that
> > > > > > > contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable
> > > > > territory
> > > > > > > which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the
> code,
> > > > not a
> > > > > > > boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times
> before.
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to
> > > > > licenses,
> > > > > > which would look something like this:
> > > > > >
> > > > > > /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
> > > > > >  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
> > > > > >  */
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing
> existing
> > > > > blocks
> > > > > > with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
> > > > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > > > [hidden email]
> > > > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > > [hidden email]
> > > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > [hidden email]
> > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > [hidden email]
> > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> >
>
>
> --
>
> Zhou Zhou
> Legal Counsel
> Wikimedia Foundation
> 149 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor
> San Francisco, CA 94105
> [hidden email]
>
> NOTICE: This message might have confidential or legally privileged
> information in it. If you have received this message by accident, please
> delete it and let us know about the mistake. As an attorney for the
> Wikimedia Foundation, for legal/ethical reasons I cannot give legal advice
> to, or serve as a lawyer for, community members, volunteers, or staff
> members in their personal capacity. For more on what this means, please see
> our legal disclaimer
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Legal_Disclaimer>.
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Re: Short license blocks

Zhou Zhou
In reply to this post by Zhou Zhou
Hi Stephen,

Yes, generally you can shorten it as long as it is still easily readable by
humans and the linked references contains all the required copyright and
licensing information (note my response below was meant as a general
example for MediaWiki based on best practices rather than advice on the
specific language we must use).  For example, while removing the Copyright
word with © might shorten things, it might make it harder for someone to
search for the copyright information via the word "Copyright".  As a
certain point, making the header more concise might no longer be worth the
cost to user comprehension.

Thanks,

Zhou

Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2015 17:21:53 -0600

> From: Stephen Niedzielski <[hidden email]>
> To: Wikimedia developers <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] Short license blocks
> Message-ID:
>         <CANMtf2doHfh54qE=UGNrEZb0W=
> [hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>
> Zhou, thanks for your comment. Would it be possible to put the entire
> license on one line? Using your example:
>
> > This file is part of the MediaWiki Project. Copyright 2015 The MediaWiki
> Project Developers. For full copyright information and for the licensing
> terms governing the project and all its files, see the COPYING file at the
> top-level directory of this distribution and at
> https://github.com/wikimedia/mediawiki/blob/master/COPYING.
>
> Is there anything creative we could do to shorten that line? Maybe replace
> Copyright with ©, and use a (permanent) shortened link for the URL and drop
> the reference to the top-level directory?
>
>
> --stephen
>
> On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 5:04 PM, Zhou Zhou <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Hi everyone,
> >
> > Thanks to Gergo for bringing up this issue.  Everyone has raised good
> > points and I just want to link to existing guidance from the Software
> > Freedom Law Center
> > <
> >
> https://softwarefreedom.org/resources/2012/ManagingCopyrightInformation.html
> > >
> > on
> > best practices for developers to address the problem of long license and
> > copyright headers by linking to external files.   As noted in the
> guidance
> > document, by referencing the appropriate information files located in a
> > centralized location, not only do we reduce clutter in the header but we
> > also increase maintainability of license and copyright info.
> >
> > Therefore for the header, as an example, we could have something like
> this:
> >
> > >
> > > This file is part of the MediaWiki Project.  Copyright 2015 The
> MediaWiki
> > > Project Developers.
> > >
> > > For full copyright information and for the licensing terms governing
> the
> > > project and all its files, see the COPYING file at the top-level
> > directory
> > > of this distribution and at
> > > https://github.com/wikimedia/mediawiki/blob/master/COPYING.
> >
> >
> > where in turn the COPYING file could contain references to the updated
> list
> > of authors, a description of the project, and the licensing information.
> >
> > As to the specifics of SPDX use for all our projects and licenses, we
> will
> > have to do a little more research on this.  Happy to talk off-thread
> about
> > this as well.
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Zhou
> >
> >
> >
> > > From: Tyler Romeo <[hidden email]>
> > > Date: Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 12:03 PM
> > > Subject: Re: [Wikitech-l] Short license blocks
> > > To: Wikimedia developers <[hidden email]>
> > >
> > >
> > > The Apache license, which is also permissive, has a similar recommended
> > > file header.
> > >
> > > I'd say we just standardize on having the warranty disclaimer and
> license
> > > notice in every file. It's an easy approach to make sure somebody
> reading
> > > the file can easily tell the license without having to maintain
> > > comprehensive authorship information in every file.
> > > On Oct 27, 2015 14:17, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > >
> > > > I was saying that we could go ahead and make this the standard for
> > > non-GPL
> > > > MediaWiki code (basically, the few MIT licensed extensions). I'm not
> > sure
> > > > if the advantage of doing that would outweigh the disadvantage of
> > having
> > > a
> > > > non-standard standard though.
> > > >
> > > > On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 11:06 AM, Tyler Romeo <[hidden email]>
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Are you saying adopting the short license blocks? Or the MIT
> license?
> > > > > Because I'm not sure how the licenses of extensions would affect
> the
> > > > > license headers in core.
> > > > > On Oct 27, 2015 12:43, "Ryan Kaldari" <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > > <flamebait>
> > > > > > I totally support switching to license identifiers instead of
> > > headers,
> > > > > > provided that we also switch our licensing from GPL to MIT or BSD
> > ;)
> > > > > > </flamebait>
> > > > > >
> > > > > > On a serious note, we do have a fair number of extensions that
> are
> > > MIT
> > > > > > Licensed and could go ahead and adopt this (
> > > > > > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Category:MIT_licensed_extensions
> ).
> > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > > > On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 3:44 AM, Gergo Tisza <
> [hidden email]
> > >
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > > >
> > > > > > > In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR
> > > writes:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is
> > sourcefiles
> > > > that
> > > > > > > > contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is
> valuable
> > > > > > territory
> > > > > > > > which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the
> > code,
> > > > > not a
> > > > > > > > boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times
> > before.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer
> to
> > > > > > licenses,
> > > > > > > which would look something like this:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
> > > > > > >  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
> > > > > > >  */
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing
> > existing
> > > > > > blocks
> > > > > > > with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
> > > > > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > > > > [hidden email]
> > > > > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > > > [hidden email]
> > > > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > > [hidden email]
> > > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > > >
> > > > _______________________________________________
> > > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > > [hidden email]
> > > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > > [hidden email]
> > > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> > >
> >
> >
> > --
> >
> > Zhou Zhou
> > Legal Counsel
> > Wikimedia Foundation
> > 149 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor
> > San Francisco, CA 94105
> > [hidden email]
> >
> > NOTICE: This message might have confidential or legally privileged
> > information in it. If you have received this message by accident, please
> > delete it and let us know about the mistake. As an attorney for the
> > Wikimedia Foundation, for legal/ethical reasons I cannot give legal
> advice
> > to, or serve as a lawyer for, community members, volunteers, or staff
> > members in their personal capacity. For more on what this means, please
> see
> > our legal disclaimer
> > <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Legal_Disclaimer>.
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikitech-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
> >
>
> *******************************************
>



--

Zhou Zhou
Legal Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation
149 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
[hidden email]

NOTICE: This message might have confidential or legally privileged
information in it. If you have received this message by accident, please
delete it and let us know about the mistake. As an attorney for the
Wikimedia Foundation, for legal/ethical reasons I cannot give legal advice
to, or serve as a lawyer for, community members, volunteers, or staff
members in their personal capacity. For more on what this means, please see
our legal disclaimer
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Legal_Disclaimer>.
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Re: Short license blocks

Brian Wolff
In reply to this post by Antoine Musso-3
On 10/27/15, Antoine Musso <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Le 27/10/2015 10:44, Gergo Tisza a écrit :
>> In a recent blog post ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6867 ) ESR writes:
>>
>> High on my list of Things That Annoy Me When I Hack is sourcefiles that
>>> contain huge blobs of license text at the top. That is valuable territory
>>> which should be occupied by a header comment explaining the code, not a
>>> boatload of boilerplate that I’ve seen hundreds of times before.
>>
>>
>> ...and then goes on to explain using SPDX identifiers to refer to
>> licenses,
>> which would look something like this:
>>
>> /* Copyright 2015 by XYZ
>>  * SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0+
>>  */
>>
>> Any objections to making that the new standard / replacing existing blocks
>> with this? It would make the PHP files a little more readable.
>
> Hello,
>
> I would not bother mass editing source files. It is imho a waste of
> time.  I think we standardized the MediaWiki core files at one point to
> include the recommended GPL headers.  The commit history should have
> such trace.
>
> A few other projects I contribute to, do include a long header in files
> even for MIT/Apache 2 license.
>
> Overall I don't think we have to implement every nitpick the blogosphere
> can come up with.
>
>

+1. As far as bikesheds go, this is a silly one.

Some people think that having the big header helps in case someone
just copies a single source file from your repo and reuses it
vertibram somewhere else. Others think its super-redundant and kind of
ugly. Not that different from arguments about proper whitespace in
code files.

Lets just stick with what we have.

--
-bawolff

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Re: Short license blocks

Platonides
In reply to this post by Antoine Musso-3
On 27/10/15 19:54, Antoine Musso wrote:
> I think we standardized the MediaWiki core files at one point to
> include the recommended GPL headers.  The commit history should have
> such trace.

We did. Copyright headers were added for files which lacked it, much to
my dismay. Actual descriptions of what the file did would have been
prefered.
Not that they are a big problem, though.

Regarding "keeping the big header is important", I don't think anyone
barely into CS  on this century can not know what the GPL is (and not
figure out in 5 minutes).

An excerpt like this would be perfectly fine imho:
«This MediaWiki file is licensed under the terms of GPL 2 or later, as
published in http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl2 See the COPYING file for
details.»


It is much more likely that they don't understand the GPL itself (just
like many people does not understand the Wikipedia license *has
requirements*), such as understanding "GPL2" as "You may copy and reuse
it ignoring all of the license requirements".

Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Short license blocks

Tyler Romeo
On Tue, Oct 27, 2015 at 9:19 PM, Platonides <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Regarding "keeping the big header is important", I don't think anyone
> barely into CS  on this century can not know what the GPL is (and not
> figure out in 5 minutes).
>
> An excerpt like this would be perfectly fine imho:
> «This MediaWiki file is licensed under the terms of GPL 2 or later, as
> published in http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl2 See the COPYING file for
> details.»
>

It has nothing to do with whether or not they know the GPL. As the FLC link
explains, it is about clearly conveying that the code is indeed copyrighted
under a certain license, such that somebody who violates the license cannot
claim innocence or otherwise try and push some of the blame onto us.

That said, I really don't think bikeshedding over reducing a license header
from 4 lines of text to 2 lines really makes a difference. I'd much rather
use the format advised by GNU itself, considering they did write the
license.

(As for the whole warranty disclaimer, which takes up its own 4 lines, I do
not know enough to argue for or against whether it is necessary, since
software liability is a separate legal device from copyright.)

*-- *
*Tyler Romeo*
Stevens Institute of Technology, Class of 2016
Major in Computer Science
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