Fedora: A Bug Report I Filed Today

While investigating a bug in TigerVNC and noticing it was fixed in a recentupdate I discovered that there was a tigervnc-license package. Just what is that? ...I wondered. When I found out I felt compelled to submit a bug report that I thought I'd share.

I just noticed that from the release of Fedora 13 to the release of Fedora 14, tigervnc has been split up into some additional packages. As an example, for the i686 arch, Fedora 13 had:


Fedora 14 has:


What is this -license package?

# rpm -ql tigervnc-license

It contains a single directory which contains a single file, which is a copy of the GPL v2 license. Do we really need a separate copy of the GPL v2 license as a SEPARATE PACKAGE?

I realize that a significant percentage of packages in the repositories is licensed under the GPL v2 and GPL v3 license... and each one contains a copy of the license... so that could be a few hundred or a few thousand duplicate files on the filesystem that could easily be collapsed down to just a couple of files... and maybe some symlinks. I guess getting rid of a couple of megabytes in a few thousand files is a worthwhile goal... BUT I don't think taking the license from each package and making a separate package out of it, which would make the license avoidable, is a good idea.

A better idea would be to have a package for each license and then have those license packages listed as a dependency for the other packages that they relate too. I must admit that I'm not very fond of having a binary package that doesn't include a copy of the license as that might violate the license terms... I'm not sure... but the meta data included in the package do state what the license is and as long as a copy of that license is available on the system, I'm guessing you could reasonably get away with that.

Anyway I thought it was wild that there was a tigervnc-license package and I don't see any other "-license" packages in Everything nor Updates so I'm guessing this is the work of one package maintainer... and that it hasn't spread yet? :)

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I think...

the idea here is that packaging policy requires each package to contain a copy of the license, so he thought he'd save duplicating it five times (or whatever) by splitting it out into a separate package and having the others depend on it.

The idea of having a 'common-licenses' package or something like that has come up several times before but always been rejected on sensible grounds, I think spot would have more details if you asked him.

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