[REUSE] How to comply to FSF Free Software Directory?

Max Mehl max.mehl at fsfe.org
Tue Oct 20 10:15:01 UTC 2020

Hi Rijk,

~ Rijk Ravestein [2020-10-20 11:07 +0200]:
> I made all projects at https://gitlab.com/savapage REUSE
> compliant. 

First of all, thank you very much for making this important step!

> As I understood, the COPYING file in the root directory is not needed
> anymore, because it is replaced by the /LICENSES directory.  Also, the
> LICENSE.spdx file contains "PackageLicenseDeclared:
> AGPL-3.0-or-later". Therefore I removed the COPYING file from each
> project.
> Now, the admin of the https://directory.fsf.org who is evaluating
> SavaPage submission, states:
> "1. please create a text file named COPYING inside the root of each
> module, fill it with an integral copy of the license under which its
> shipped. The file must contain only a license, unaltered;"

From the REUSE perspective, you did all correctly. Actually, the
LICENSES directory and the declaration for each file is sufficient to
understand the licensing situation of the repo.

However, REUSE does not require you to delete the COPYING file, just
like the LICENSE file or so. You can just keep it and make it the
license text under which you ship the product.

However, defining this one license is not trivial or just impossible for
projects using multiple licenses, or being dual-licensed. That's why
REUSE does not recommend to have a "main" license. However, if you want
to stay compatible with FSF Directory or other practices, you're free to
do so.

> Above that ...
> "2. please ensure all hidden files are under the same license of the
> package and if not change the headers;

If you changed the header of all files anyway to declare copyright and
licensing, you should be fine with this requirement.

> 3. please ensure that /LICENSES/ contains only free software licenses
> and only the licenses used in the module;"

The first can be easily checked by yourself. You know best which
licenses are used in your repos. From some random checks on 2 or 3 of
the repos under your organisations, I didn't see proprietary licenses.

The second is actually a requirement by REUSE itself:

  A Project MUST NOT include License Files for licenses under which none
  of the files in the Project are licensed. [^1]

The REUSE helper tools checks that, so you should be fine.


[^1]: https://reuse.software/spec/#license-files

Max Mehl - Programme Manager - Free Software Foundation Europe
Contact and information: https://fsfe.org/about/mehl | @mxmehl
Become a supporter of software freedom:  https://fsfe.org/join
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