[Haskell-cafe] Hackage and Free Software

Gershom B gershomb at gmail.com
Sun Mar 1 05:17:17 UTC 2015

For the record, the current behaviour is as follows.

A package with AllRightsReserved as a license or a missing license is now rejected by “cabal check” with the following:

* The 'license' field is missing or specified as AllRightsReserved.

Hackage would reject this package.

A package with an unknown license such as “Foo” is rejected with the following:

* 'license: Foo' is not a recognised license. The known licenses are: GPL,
GPL-2, GPL-3, LGPL, LGPL-2.1, LGPL-3, AGPL, AGPL-3, BSD2, BSD3, MIT, MPL-2.0,
Apache, Apache-2.0, PublicDomain, AllRightsReserved, OtherLicense

Hackage would reject this package.

However, a package with OtherLicense is indeed accepted.

It would be good to specify that we ask that OtherLicense indeed be another recognized open-source license. That said, I do not feel strongly about how much care we take to enforce this. We should definitely better document this and other elements of hackage policy, and I know discussions about that have in fact been underway.

I agree that being able to filter Hackage packages on license and other considerations (say, build reports on various systems) would be a great feature. Some such improvements have been floated as GSoC projects. I would encourage those that feel strongly about such features to consider getting involved with development of the hackage server.


On February 28, 2015 at 4:29:39 PM, Mike Meyer (mwm at mired.org) wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 2:59 PM, Francesco Ariis wrote:
> > Those restrictions would be, in my opinion, a good idea. Rejecting
> > say CC-SA (CC0 is FSF approved), etc. code means rejecting licences
> > with clear and documented problems in them, problems which would
> > cause quite a lot of headaches down the road.
> >
> I don't have a problem if you want to do that. But by disallowing those
> licenses on Hackage, you've taken away *MY* ability to decide if those
> problems are problems for my use case.
> There are open source projects that are systematically excising GPL'ed
> software because of the problems it shares with ShareAlike licenses. Should
> we disallow the GPL because some people have problems with it?
> Making Hackage better to help users sort out which licenses they are
> willing to accept in their project - which I personally would like to do on
> a project-by-project basis! - is a solution to these problems. Restricting
> the licenses that are acceptable on Hackage to meet some arbitrary set of
> criteria is a knee-jerk.
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