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Reaction to Redhat/Fedora modified releases

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David Golden
January 24, 2012 07:49
Reaction to Redhat/Fedora modified releases
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I have several reactions and want to pull them out of the "WTF" thread
for more constructive conversation about what to do next.

(1) IANAL, but in reviewing both GPL and Artistic, I think they are in
violation of the license.  Artistic is specific that they can't call
the binary "perl" if it is non-standard.  GPL is specific that
modified copies must carry "prominent notices" of the change.  To be
"standard" (Artistic) or "unmodified" (GPL) one must distribute
"verbatim" copies (source or binary) -- and removing standard
libraries is not verbatim.

(2) There is clearly a desire by OS packagers for a "minimal perl" of
the sort that has been mooted periodically on p5p.  We've heard
similar things from Debian/Ubuntu who, for example, already split out
docs into a separate packages.  But we've never actually specified
what a "minimal perl" should include, which leaves them to make
(suboptimal) choices.

I therefore suggest two responses:

(a) Either Perl 5 Porters (i.e. Rik as Pumpking) or TPF should contact
Fedora/Redhat packagers and inform them of our concerns.  I'm not
saying that TPF should slap them with a "cease and desist" (though
that would certainly be emotionally satisfying), but I do think we
should "officially" raise concerns that splitting out core libraries
is not viewed as acceptable by upstream and that we do not feel it is
in the spirit of the license.

(b) p5p should finally bite the bullet and write the spec for "minimal
perl" (whatever we finally think that is) and we should then offer
that to packagers as a sanctioned minimal distribution as a compromise
to response (a).  We should also be clear about binary package naming
-- i.e. a minimal perl should not be packaged as "perl".

Ideally, would also modify the release tools to begin releasing
"perl-minimal-5.X.Y" tarballs as well as "perl-5.X.Y" tarballs.
Assuming we don't take months arguing, I think (b) is feasible in time
for Perl 5.16.

-- David

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