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From Stephen Connolly <stephen.alan.conno...@gmail.com>
Subject Exceptions to the license header requirements
Date Thu, 04 Jul 2013 09:57:37 GMT
Apologies if this question has been asked before.

The issue of license headers recently came up on the Maven dev list, and in
an effort to get a clearer understanding I re-read the ASF site on source
headers.

Specifically I am looking at the list of exceptions:

http://www.apache.org/legal/src-headers.html#faq-exceptions

With few exceptions<http://www.apache.org/legal/src-headers.html#faq-exceptions>,
> all human-readable Apache-developed files that are included within a
> distribution must include the header text<http://www.apache.org/legal/src-headers.html#header-text>.
> Documentation, including web site documentation distributed with the
> release, may include the header text within some form of metadata (such as
> HTML comments) or as a header or footer appearing in the visible
> documentation.



*What files in an Apache release do not require a license header?*
> A file without any degree of creativity in either its literal elements or
> its structure is not protected by copyright law; therefore, such a file
> does not require a license header. If in doubt about the extent of the
> file's creativity, add the license header to the file.


Which is fairly black and white, but also at odds with what my (nieve)
understanding had been.

The area where I see a potential for additional exceptions is test data.

Test data often has quite a significant degree of creativity in its literal
elements and its structure...

Further the test data *may* only be valid as structured *without a license
header*.

This is particularly relevant for the Maven project as we have quite a
large test suite of sample projects that we run integration tests against
as part of the source bundles of both Maven core and the Maven plugins.

Now I suspect that a large chunk of these sample projects could quite
safely have the license header added to them... but the reality is that any
change to the test data risks turning a valid test case into a test case
that will fail to detect the issue under test.

To put it another way, it may be that for any specific test case, the test
would only fail if the bug is present *and* the license header is not
present. Thus in order to add the license header into the test case's data
we need to re-introduce the bug that was fixed, add the license header and
confirm that the test still fails and finally revert the bug
re-introduction.

With 1,000's of test cases to review, each with upwards of 5-20 files, this
would seem to me as a massive task with very little gain.

Is there some text we can put in the NOTICE file to cover the test
resources (which are all in nice all-inclusive subdirectories of the source
bundles, e.g. all files in src/it/**) so that we do not have to spin our
wheels with busy-work verifying that our hard won test data set remains
valid with the license headers added.

Additionally the src-headers page should be updated with the results of
this discussion in either case so that others can be aware of the
foundations view on test data sets that are part of the source bundle.

-Stephen

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