The OEM team, and others, need to know what licenses each package is under, so that they can summarize this for clients. The debian/copyright file in the package contains this information, but it is currently not in a machine-parseable format. Debian is working on changing the format, and this spec aims at adopting the proposed new format, and helping Debian achieve that. This spec also includes the development of tools to parse the new format.

Release Note


Use Cases




UI Changes

Code Changes


Test/Demo Plan

Unresolved issues

BoF agenda and discussion

MichaelVogt: The content of the debian/copyright file is availalbe on (e.g. Not machine readable (or only to a certain extend) but at least not each package needs to be downloaded fully. There is also with a proposal to make debian/copyright machine readable.

UDS Lucid Notes

Prototype Tool Info

This is a very quick and rough prototype, and does not understand more than a couple of existing copyright files, but it might be useful for playing around. The point of the tool is not to be practical today, but to let interested people play around with it to provide feedback on what kinds of tools are needed, and what the Python library it uses should provide.

To use the tool:

For example:

(The sample file is included. files.txt lists the files on my machine that sort-of work as input.)

The output of the tool may be wrong. It doesn't even try to implement everything in DEP5 as it is, just enough to make it possible to play with this stuff on a computer rather than in one's head or on mailing lists.

Background: In the Ubuntu Foundations team we're under the impression that the OEM team needs to keep track of what licenses are on the CD (or some other collection of software), and is currently doing that manually with a spreadsheet. DEP5 ( aims to get copyright files be machine-readable, rather than free-form text, and this tool reads files in that format.

Steve Langasek is in charge of getting DEP5 approved in Debian, eventually, but he's been busy with other things this cycle. There's also some bad Debian internal politics going on, which has slowed things down also.

I assume that the vision for the future is to start converting copyright files in Ubuntu to the DEP5 format. This conversion will start with Ubuntu-specific packages, and that it need not be complete to be useful. Presumably we would expand this to packages in Ubuntu main that are imported from Debian, and feed back those changes to Debian.


FoundationsTeam/Specs/PackageLicenseTracking (last edited 2009-11-20 16:25:19 by 63)