[Proj] Method of reference to license within software code modules

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Mon Jan 5 19:49:39 EST 2009

Gerald I. Evenden wrote:
> Not a bash nor editorial.
> Question: does/should a copy of the license that covers a program module be 
> placed within each and every source file??
> I had been putting a copy of the MIT in every file of whatever that ends up in 
> a distubution tarball.  Is that necessary?  I doubt that a copy of the 10,000 
> lines of GPL ends up in each of Stallman's files.  ;-)
> Is a reference and url (such as 
> http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php
> sufficient?
> Anyway, I feel that I have been a bit excessive.


It is my practice to include a copy of the MIT license in each source file
since it is of a managable size.

However, for GPL projects it is common practice to name the license and
version and refer to a COPYING file with the full license so that only one
copy of the GPL (etc) needs to go with each project.

It is generally not considered good practice to refer to a license only by
URL since web resources can easily be lost, change, etc.  So I'd encourage
having at least one copy of the license in your source distribution.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent

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