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From Alan Cabrera <>
Subject Re: Tool to generate disclaimer, NOTICE, etc. files
Date Tue, 11 Feb 2014 15:28:26 GMT
Whoops, accidentally prematurely sent my reply.

The goal that I’m hoping to realistically attain is to have tooling automatically generate
these files, thus alleviating a lot of scut work done by podlings and mentors. Maybe not a
realistic goal but a pretty good dream.  :)

On to the details:

On Feb 8, 2014, at 7:42 PM, sebb <> wrote:

> On 8 February 2014 16:49, Alan Cabrera <> wrote:
>> Do you think it would be helpful if we had a tool that generated these files?  It
could work like a command line wizard that prompts the person for licensing information and
then generates a valid disclaimer, notice, etc. files.
> AIUI the disclaimer file is the same for every project - only the
> project name changes.
> Seems unnecessary to automate this, though it should be trivial to implement.

Agreed, though it would be handy for podlings that are starting out, imo.

> The NOTICE file is much harder to automate, as it depends on knowing
> what is actually going to be shipped and reading and interpreting all
> the relevant licenses.
> However it might be possible to create a sort of expert system that
> asked the right questions and guided the user to create the NOTICE
> file.

That’s my thinking.  The tool would ask various questions about their project.  Maybe even
introspect maven POMs, gradle files, etc. to collect information.  Then generate appropriate
NOTICE files.  

I think that the real work would be creating and maintaining a database of licenses for 3rd
party products.  This could be incrementally created by the above tool.

>> If this is a good idea, what files should we generate?  Currently, all I can think
of is disclaimer and notice.
>> Maybe it could add the info into the project's DOAP file.  If we worked out the kinks
then we could create sbt/gradle/mvn plugins to read the DOAP file and insert these files into
the correct places in the distributions.  Apache RAT could also use this info as well.
> The DOAP could certainly be used to create the DISCLAIMER.
> It seems wrong to include any dependency information in the DOAP.
> Dependencies must be present somewhere in the build scripts, however
> even in Maven (which has very structured info) it's not at all easy to
> determine which dependencies are actually included in the release
> artifacts (and remember that source and binary artifacts may need
> different NOTICE files)

All the more reason to having tooling take care of this.

> Note also that some source files may require attribution in the NOTICE file.
> These won't be documented in any build system; the info has to be
> added to the NOTICE file manually when the code is added to SCM.
>> WDYT?
> Non-trivial; maintaining the meta-data needed to accurately generate
> the NOTICE file is likely to require more effort than writing the
> NOTICE file itself

Yeah but that effort is amortized over many projects and release reviewers.


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