Harald Sitter: Reuse Licensing Helper

It’s boring but important! Stay with me! Please! 😘

For the past couple of years Andreas Cord-Landwehr has done excellent work on moving KDE in a more structured licensing direction. Free software licensing is an often overlooked topic, that is collectively understood to be important, but also incredibly annoying, bureaucratic, and complex. We all like to ignore it more than we should.

If you are working on KDE software you really should check out KDE’s licenses howto and maybe also glance over the comprehensive policy. In particular when you start a new repo!

I’d like to shine some light on a simple but incredibly useful tool: reuse. reuse helps you check licensing compliance with some incredibly easy commands.

Say you start a new project. You create your prototype source, maybe add a readme – after a while it’s good enough to make public and maybe propose for inclusion as mature KDE software by going through KDE Review. You submit it for review and if you are particularly unlucky you’ll have me come around the corner and lament how your beautiful piece of software isn’t completely free software because some files lack any sort of licensing information. Alas!

See, you had better use reuse…

pip3 install --user reuse

reuse lint: lints the source and tells you which files aren’t licensed

reuse download --all: downloads the complete license files needed for compliance based on the licenses used in your source (unfortunately you’ll still need to manually create the KDEeV variants)

If you are unsure how to license a given file, consult the licensing guide or the policy or send a mail to one of the devel mailing lists. There’s help a plenty.

Now that you know about the reuse tool there’s even less reason to start projects without 100% compliance so I can shut up about it 🙂

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