Make license/licenses field mandatory

Eric Hodel drbrain at
Thu Oct 13 15:58:29 EDT 2011

On Oct 12, 2011, at 6:54 AM, Pavol Rusnak wrote:
> I'd like to propose making license/licenses field mandatory. While doing
> rubygem packages for Linux distributions we have to deal with licenses a
> lot and currently not having a license field in gemspec is the only
> thing stopping us from doing automated packaging. One has to unpack the
> gem, search for the license text and change the field by hand. If these
> fields were mandatory (i.e. one or the other), it would make the whole
> process much easier. In my opinion the license is very important aspect
> of the gem similarly important as its name and I think also non-Linux
> parts of Ruby ecosystem would benefit from that change. What do you think?

The first goal of RubyGems is to provide useful tools for Rubyists to share libraries.  The needs of repackagers comes second.

I'm fine with a warning at gem build time if the license is not set.

I don't want to make it suddenly mandatory as that disrupts a gem author's workflow.  In order for this to be successful for gem packagers, Rubyists need to agree it is a good thing.  Some authors will avoid upgrading RubyGems if mandatory requirements are added too quickly.  Perhaps in the future it can be made mandatory if gem authors agree it is a good thing, but not for the present.

As a repackager, if the license field is not set you should submit a patch to the gem author to set it for them.

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