[Moin-user] license docstrings in the code

Thomas Waldmann tw at waldmann-edv.de
Wed Feb 23 07:20:03 EST 2011

A somewhat related topic:

We have authors and reference to the license as docstring in every
module, like:

MoinMoin - wsgi application setup and related code

Use create_app(config) to create the WSGI application (using Flask).

@copyright: 2000-2006 by Juergen Hermann <jh at web.de>,
            2002-2011 MoinMoin:ThomasWaldmann,
            2008 MoinMoin:FlorianKrupicka,
            2010 MoinMoin:DiogenesAugusto
@license: GNU GPL, see COPYING for details.

(the COPYING license document is also contained in the repo / release

There are some issues with this method:

a) it is hard to maintain the author list there, the years and (in case
of a license change) the license reference. Author list tends to be
incomplete (some contributors don't add themselves) or outdated (code of
some authors might be removed later, but not author's name). after a
while one usually does not know any more what exactly is from whom.

b) we want to automatically create documentation (using sphinx + some
script) from the source code. The module docstring would give more
pretty docs if there was not that author/license stuff repeated hundreds
of times.


a) Have some file AUTHORS (or CONTRIBUTORS?) that lists everybody having
contributed to the project. Remove all author references from the moin
module/package docstrings.

b) Have some file LICENSE that refers to the relevant licenses, like GPL
v2, GPL v3 and also note something like "unless otherwise noted" to make
exceptions for contributed / 3rd party code possible.

c) Refer to these files from MoinMoin package docstring (and only from
there, once).

I am no lawyer and no licensing expert - does anybody have a qualified
opinion about this?

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