DRAFT document on coding conventions in kde libraries

Allen Winter winter at kde.org
Wed Mar 8 22:58:30 GMT 2006

On Wednesday 08 March 2006 17:44, Lauri Watts wrote:
> On Monday 06 March 2006 12:41, Nicolas Goutte wrote:
> > On Sunday 05 March 2006 22:53, Friedrich W. H. Kossebau wrote:
> > > Am Sonntag, 5. März 2006 18:38, schrieb Olivier Goffart:
> >
> > > Are pointers sufficient like "See File xy for authors, copyright and
> > > licence" or should there be a complete documentation of all authors
> > > and the
> > > licence (although they might be fetchable from the repository system)?
> >
> > Basic copyright and license information *must* be in the same file or some
> > "attacker" could (pseudo-)naively tell: "I did not know".
> This is a myth actually, albeit a widespread one.  Copyright is not license, 
> and "I did not know" is no defence at all if it comes to the law.  Unless 
> something specifically says it's public domain, or it has come into the 
> public domain by virtue of being older than the prescribed number of years 
> (and we're quite many years from any parts of KDE hitting that limit) , it is 
> _always_ copyright someone, even if we don't always know who that someone is 
> or how to reach them.
> > > And what sense
> > > make the notion of the year span at all, when to update?
> >
> > Year spans (e.g. 1996-2004) are problematic, as far as I have understood,
> > and listing each year has to be prefered.
> The years are "year of first publication".  Each change, when distributed, 
> therefore should be added (because newly added code is being 'published' for 
> the first time.)
> So, you list each year a change was made, and may abbreviate that to a span if 
> multiple consecutive years are included. 
> e.g. File was change din 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006 (unlikely, but possible)
> You could put "2000-2002,2006"
> Most important of all, is to realise that just _creating the file_ grants you 
> copyright (this is called 'The principle of "automatic " protection').  The 
> copyright notice may in some jurisdictions grant you _additional rights_ and 
> help you claim damages, but not having it does not mean you forfeit your 
> right of authorship.
> That said, since the notice may grant you additional protection, it's 
> important to do it properly.  Specifically, beware that (c) (that is a c, in 
> either case, inside parentheses) means nothing; either write "Copyright" out 
> in full and/or (preferably and) use a real copyright symbol ©
> So the format is simply this:
> © Copyright 2000-2002,2006 Your Name(s)
Copyright (c) 2000-2002,2006 Your Name(s) ??

For our purposes, could we also require email addresses?
An email address might help find the author years after they have left the project.
I know it has helped me find a few people from years back.

How about:
 © Copyright 2000-2002,2006 Name <user at domain>
Copyright 2000-2002,2006 Name <user at domain>

And also require that each copyright holder has a copyright on a line by itself?
Thus we can have different copyright years for each copyright holder.

> > The internation conventions on copyrights, the local copyright
> > laws/systems... i.e. the same mess as with trademarks.
> It's not quite that bad :)  There are really only three cases to worry about:  
> the ones that follow the Berne convention[1], the US[2] which is nearly but 
> not quite precisely the same (and the US is in fact a party to the Berne 
> Convention too, they just have some additional stuff mostly to deal with 
> punitive damages - hence my warning about (c) vs © above), and then there are 
> the  places that ignore copyrights entirely, and there's not much we can do 
> about them.  
> There are some excellent FAQ's around, google up Brad Templeton's FAQ if 
> you're interested.
> [1] List is here, : 
> http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?lang=en&treaty_id=15
> The summarised version of the convention itself, if anyone is that interested, 
> is here:
> http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne/summary_berne.html
> [2]http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-definitions.html#notice
> Regards,

Let's Keep the Political Talk Out of KDE PLEASE

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