Your message dated Sun, 06 Aug 2017 03:04:19 +0000
with message-id <>
and subject line Bug#678607: fixed in debian-policy
has caused the Debian Bug report #678607,
regarding "original authors" in 12.5 is unclear
to be marked as done.

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--- Begin Message ---
Package: debian-policy
Severity: normal

Policy 12.5 says:

    In addition, the copyright file must say where the upstream sources
    (if any) were obtained, and should name the original authors.

The last part is not at all clear.  Prior to a recent conversation on
debian-mentors, I had always assumed that this meant the legal authors,
so for GNU software saying that it was maintained by the Free Software
Foundation satisfied what this was asking for.  Similarly for UCAID for
the Shibboleth software.  But discussion makes clear that other people
were interpreting this as a requirement to name the specific people
involved in development (something that is often documented in a
separate AUTHORS or THANKS or CREDITS file, and sometimes isn't
documented at all).

Similarly, "original" is ambiguous.  I had always assumed that meant
"upstream," as in the current upstream maintainer, since it was paired
with the upstream location.  Those are the "original" authors from the
perspective of Debian, as opposed to the authors of the Debian package.
But other people interpret this as saying that debian/copyright needs
to name the original upstream authors, as in the first people to start
doing development on this source base.  I don't really see the point in
that unless we're going to list *all* the authors, given that it's often
the case that the people making the first commits have done only a small
amount of the total work on the package.

If we do decide that this means that we need to list the specific people
involved in upstream development, we should also add a new field to the
copyright-format standard for that, since there isn't one at present.
We should also say something about how much archeology we expect package
maintainers to do if upstream doesn't document this.

Note that a lot of FSF software currently packaged in the archive follows
my interpretation and would become buggy under a different interpretation.
See, for example, the copyright files for gawk, bash, coreutils (well,
it has a reference to a separate file), or bc.  (Other maintainers have
had different interpretations; see the copyright file for gnutls for one
that includes all the upstream authorship information.)

-- System Information:
Debian Release: wheezy/sid
  APT prefers testing
  APT policy: (990, 'testing'), (500, 'unstable'), (1, 'experimental')
Architecture: i386 (i686)

Kernel: Linux 3.1.0-1-686-pae (SMP w/4 CPU cores)
Locale: LANG=en_US.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/dash

--- End Message ---
--- Begin Message ---
Source: debian-policy

We believe that the bug you reported is fixed in the latest version of
debian-policy, which is due to be installed in the Debian FTP archive.

A summary of the changes between this version and the previous one is

Thank you for reporting the bug, which will now be closed.  If you
have further comments please address them to,
and the maintainer will reopen the bug report if appropriate.

Debian distribution maintenance software
Sean Whitton <> (supplier of updated debian-policy 

(This message was generated automatically at their request; if you
believe that there is a problem with it please contact the archive
administrators by mailing

Hash: SHA512

Format: 1.8
Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2017 21:47:47 -0400
Source: debian-policy
Binary: debian-policy
Architecture: all source
Distribution: unstable
Urgency: medium
Maintainer: Debian Policy List <>
Changed-By: Sean Whitton <>
Closes: 196367 485776 589671 640263 660249 678607 758124 758234 759260 822430 
835520 839172 849851 849853 866192 867308
 debian-policy - Debian Policy Manual and related documents
 debian-policy ( unstable; urgency=medium
   [ Russ Allbery ]
   * Policy: Overhaul priorities, deprecate extra
     Wording: Russ Allbery <>
     Seconded: Niels Thykier <>
     Seconded: Andreas Henriksson <>
     Seconded: Ansgar Burchardt <>
     Closes: #758234, #759260, #660249, #196367
   * Policy: Clarify prohibition on depending on environment variables
     Wording: Russ Allbery <>
     Seconded: Simon McVittie <>
     Seconded: Niels Thykier <>
     Closes: #640263
   [ Sean Whitton ]
   * Policy: Disambiguate "original authors" in 12.5
     Wording: Jonathan Nieder <>
     Seconded: Russ Allbery <>
     Seconded: David Bremner <>
     Seconded: Jonas Smedegaard <>
     Closes: #678607
   * Policy: Document Testsuite: field
     Wording: Charles Plessy <>
     Seconded: Antonio Terceiro <>
     Seconded: Sean Whitton <>
     Seconded: David Bremner <>
     Closes: #758124
   * Policy: Require calling ldconfig by means of triggers
     Wording: Niels Thykier <>
     Seconded: Andreas Henriksson <>
     Seconded: Sean Whitton <>
     Seconded: David Bremner <>
     Closes: #822430
   * Policy: Make section 9 agnostic between Debian's init systems
     Wording: Andreas Henriksson <>
     Seconded: Andrey Rahmatullin <>
     Seconded: Martin Pitt <>
     Seconded: Holger Levsen <>
     Seconded: gregor herrmann <>
     Seconded: Sean Whitton <>
     Seconded: Russ Allbery <>
     Closes: #835520
   * Policy: Packages may not install both a desktop entry and a menu entry
     Wording: Sean Whitton <>
     Seconded: Philip Hands <>
     Seconded: Didier 'OdyX' Raboud <>
     Seconded: David Bremner <>
     Closes: #839172
   * Convert to an appendix to Policy itself.
     - Update link in "Authors and Maintainers" to point to this new
       appendix (Closes: #866192).
   * Incorporate Margarita Manterola's maintscript flowcharts as a new
     appendix (Closes: #485776).
     Many thanks to David Bremner for help importing the images to docbook.
     - Add a footnote to 6.6 linking to the new appendix.
   * Update first paragraph of Appendix A to note that the final three
     appendices (the policy changes process and the upgrading checklist)
     were not taken from the Packaging Manual.
   * Add a footnote linking to the REJECT-FAQ (Closes: #849853).
   * Note that the debian/rules clean target is useless for removing files
     not compatible with the DFSG (Closes: #849851).
   * Add 'javascript', 'rust' archive sections (Closes: #867308).
   * Drop remark that systems with only required packages installed are
     "probably unusable", and add a paragraph break. (Closes: #589671).
 886b7359787723992ed9598130848b9dcc00136a 1968 debian-policy_4.0.1.0.dsc
 58e543987c00be8f9e466e8f3d76d7f25e68c8b3 679388 debian-policy_4.0.1.0.tar.xz
 0df5e469d3e18d15e51f707f3ef2eab1b24963ab 2392884 debian-policy_4.0.1.0_all.deb
 6d744945db81f54ea3563e40feb09260bbdf578c 11716 
 638421b46c4148d8a6dc1b744a3e941dd118aed0d0bddc61dd0d3c338743a245 1968 
 b7650c4b12312eb381f94c1fa6167d52ddbb3ce72f5de52793e67e52f1869667 679388 
 2751246547981249ae59d411f8ac7112ff8d7907b8bdd04abf36ce001acdd42a 2392884 
 d3662c216409aa7b0652109f6e3de3363ace586596bce3f25a48940501545f09 11716 
 c5ec6415e3fcccf501bed73ad9227012 1968 doc optional debian-policy_4.0.1.0.dsc
 f2954fe0919bfd4300c1b7676f66c63a 679388 doc optional 
 7567e7dcef323fd8827b3497ecdfb5ae 2392884 doc optional 
 d02285be47b8e42020f0ce3870e58991 11716 doc optional 



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