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On the Capitalization of Project Files

 
 
Intransition
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      04-20-2011
I have noticed a trend with regards to the case of project files. In
the old days these "information files" where all caps --files like
COPYING, CHANGELOG and README. More recently, with the uptake of
GitHub, there has been a trend to add extensions so GitHub can render
the document accordingly, e.g. README.rdoc. Going further it seems Hoe
has popularized the use of title case names with extensions, such as
History.txt and License.txt (perhaps b/c it's a Mac OS thing?)

Obviously this isn't some fundamental issue of great import. But I am
curious as to the what and wherefores that others may have for this
minor decision of project development.

 
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Johnny Morrice
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      04-20-2011
COPYING is used for GNU things, though I don't know why.

In case you wanted to check this important issue, the page
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-howto.html says "In GNU programs the
license is usually in a file called COPYING."

 
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Johnny Morrice
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      04-20-2011
Sorry I just realized that wasn't what you were asking, forgive me.
I'm tired.
I have no help for you


 
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jake kaiden
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      04-21-2011
hi 7rans -

purely out of curiosity, and you'll have to forgive me because i have
no useful or relevant dialog whatsoever...

is your name really Tom Sawyer?

thanks, sorry -


- j

--
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.

 
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Nikolai Weibull
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      04-21-2011
On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 04:14, Chad Perrin <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> I'm kinda disappointed to see stuff like License.txt, which is both:
>
> * not really stand-out and standardized the way LICENSE has become


Agreed. LICENSE was not invented here, though, so that may be a factor=E2=
=80=A6*sigh*

 
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Intransition
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      04-21-2011
On Apr 20, 10:14=A0pm, Chad Perrin <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> For the record, I think actually putting license text in the COPYING file
> is a bad idea, *especially* when using absurdly complex licenses like the
> GPL. =A0The filename seems indicative of guidance for the reader, rather
> than legal boilerplate -- a "user friendly" filename that leads the user
> into an ambush by a wall of legal text. =A0At least when you see a filena=

me
> like LICENSE you know what to expect if it contains license text. =A0This
> is why I prefer to use COPYING to convey information in layman's terms
> about stuff like copyrights and summarizing the general license picture
> of the software.


Interesting. So you advocate splitting copyright information and the
actual license text and naming the license file so it is recognizable
by name. I notice some doing the later with a `MIT-LICENSE` file. And
really I've always wondered if it is really necessary to distribute
the entire license text. Would it not be good enough to just reference
an official online copy, and only include the minimum copyright notice
required? In which case, wouldn't a clause in the README file be
enough and we can just dispose of any COPYING or LICENSE files?

Also, as to the former, for awhile I seriously considered having a
file named `(c)2011` (or whatever year it is).

> I'm kinda disappointed to see stuff like License.txt, which is both:
>
> * not really stand-out and standardized the way LICENSE has become
>
> * generically named so that you don't, for instance, know anything about
> =A0 the license text it contains without opening it


For a long time I didn't like the whole License.txt style either. For
starters I find file extensions a bit archaic. I'm not sure why our
file systems don't support file type attributes. But clearly that's
not something that will be changing anytime soon, so I've come to
accept the extensions b/c they are useful to document renderers such
as GitHub. As for the letter case, I felt the same way about not
standing out and not a common practice. More recently however I
started to think the standing out was rather relative. When every file
is all caps none of them standout either. So now I am thinking the
titlecase filenames are a bit easier on the eyes.

 
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Phillip Gawlowski
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      04-21-2011
On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 4:44 PM, Intransition <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> Would it not be good enough to just reference
> an official online copy, and only include the minimum copyright notice
> required?


The web is ephemeral, and so are links. Hosting disappears (or moves
without a redirect), or gets disconnected (Hello, Amazon EC2! Are you
up yet?), and with it the license file.

A file that isn't very large to start with, so any savings would be
lost. And distribution happens in a compressed form, anyway (well,
most of the time).

Also: I doubt that lawyers agree with retroactive licensing, too, as
an easily updated license is the only benefit I can see from hosting
the license purely online.

--
Phillip Gawlowski

Though the folk I have met,
(Ah, how soon!) they forget
When I've moved on to some other place,
There may be one or two,
When I've played and passed through,
Who'll remember my song or my face.

 
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