FS#44893 - [service-agreements] Licensing for the ArchLinux repositories

Attached to Project: Arch Linux
Opened by Alexandru Stan (amstan) - Thursday, 07 May 2015, 21:36 GMT
Last edited by Christian Heusel (gromit) - Friday, 24 November 2023, 17:47 GMT
Task Type Bug Report
Category Arch Projects
Status Closed
Assigned To Levente Polyak (anthraxx)
Architecture All
Severity High
Priority Normal
Reported Version
Due in Version Undecided
Due Date Undecided
Percent Complete 100%
Votes 6
Private No


A few days ago I wished to contribute to the Arch Linux ARM project, which is a downstream project, but all of this is applicable to Arch proper first (and it probably needs to be solved before Arch Linux ARM can take steps to fix this).

This contribution was sparked because I am a ChromeOS developer for Google. I made that patch(adding a new PKGBUILD) as a Google employee with Google hardware (it wouldn't make sense for me to do it on my personal time). As a result my employer has to approve any open source releases/patches that I write.

I had a new PKGBUILD ready for Arch Linux ARM, but my employer refused to approve it. As far as they are concerned the PKGBUILDs are not licensed under an open source license.

The situation is that even though the patches in every folder and the packages themselves are licensed under the respective licenses (the license=('') line in the pkgbuilds), the PKGBUILD themselves and the install scripts have no license.

I know some of you consider this to not be a big deal (why would anyone get upset over copying a thing that a project's documentation says you should do), but this essentially prevents me from contributing things related to my job to Arch Linux or Arch Linux ARM.

Is there some way we could attach a license to all these files?
This task depends upon

Closed by  Christian Heusel (gromit)
Friday, 24 November 2023, 17:47 GMT
Reason for closing:  Moved
Additional comments about closing:  https://gitlab.archlinux.org/archlinux/s ervice-agreements/-/issues/8
Comment by Allan McRae (Allan) - Thursday, 07 May 2015, 22:19 GMT
I'd find it difficult to believe that we could ever enforce a licence for a PKGBUILD. They are typically not substantial enough to have copyright.
Comment by Kyle Keen (keenerd) - Thursday, 07 May 2015, 22:33 GMT
And in this case the re-licensing would need to be retroactive to matter, since his work was based on the linux 3.8 pkgbuild.

Allan, some context for your benefit: Sadly this involves google lawyers. Apparently they won't let employees contribute to non-opensource projects.
Comment by Karol Błażewicz (karol) - Friday, 08 May 2015, 02:19 GMT Comment by Dolores (meskarune) - Wednesday, 19 August 2015, 23:53 GMT
I think it would be a good idea to have AUR packages licensed under a open source permissive license. They are already used in this manner in any case. It is too late to put a license in place before the launch of AUR4, so I don't know how to handle PKGBUILDS already on the AUR.
Comment by Frank Vanderham (twelveeighty) - Thursday, 20 August 2015, 21:25 GMT
amstan: I'd be interested to know what your employer's response is if you were to put a GPLv3 license header (or any license they would be comfortable with, for that matter) in a comment section of the PKGBUILD itself? Because that would cover exactly what they say is currently not licensed: the PKGBUILD file itself. As you said, all the patch material is covered under its respective license(s) already...? I doubt anyone at Arch would object to that, for the reasons Allan mentioned.
Comment by Florian Pelz (Pelzflorian) - Wednesday, 07 October 2015, 15:14 GMT
What about having anyone who registers / logs in to AUR agree to either release it implicitly under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication and/or add a free software license header to the PKGBUILD? I think it is important to be clear on licensing because not every jurisdiction has sane copyright laws. Edit: Argh, I forgot to read the linked mailing list thread.
Comment by aurelien (aurelien) - Wednesday, 11 November 2015, 11:53 GMT
Maybe it should be fine to keep the thing simple.
There is an author of the first one, contact him and request him to put a license on the first one.
By that way all other PKGBUILD that are a copy and modified copies of that one are under the same license.
Comment by Florian Pelz (Pelzflorian) - Wednesday, 11 November 2015, 14:45 GMT
"By that way all other PKGBUILD that are a copy and modified copies of that one are under the same license." No, copies are not automatically under the same license, unless the license of what the copy is derived from requires it. A public domain work can be relicensed as GPL for example, just like BSD software can be re-released as closed-source.
Comment by Buggy McBugFace (bugbot) - Tuesday, 08 August 2023, 19:11 GMT
This is an automated comment as this bug is open for more then 2 years. Please reply if you still experience this bug otherwise this issue will be closed after 1 month.