view doc/maintain.texi @ 17395:bffc406a6390

author Karl Berry <>
date Fri, 10 May 2013 07:54:43 -0700
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\input texinfo.tex    @c -*-texinfo-*-
@c %**start of header
@settitle Information for Maintainers of GNU Software
@c For double-sided printing, uncomment:
@c @setchapternewpage odd
@c This date is automagically updated when you save this file:
@set lastupdate May 7, 2013
@c %**end of header

@dircategory GNU organization
* Maintaining: (maintain).        Maintaining GNU software.
@end direntry

@setchapternewpage off

@c Put everything in one index (arbitrarily chosen to be the concept index).
@syncodeindex fn cp
@syncodeindex pg cp

Information for maintainers of GNU software, last updated @value{lastupdate}.

Copyright @copyright{} 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999,
2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009,
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or
any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no
Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover
Texts.  A copy of the license is included in the section entitled
``GNU Free Documentation License''.
@end quotation
@end copying

@title Information for Maintainers of GNU Software
@author Richard Stallman
@author last updated @value{lastupdate}
@vskip 0pt plus 1filll
@end titlepage


@node Top
@top Version

@end ifnottex

* Preface::
* Getting Help::
* GNU Accounts and Resources::
* Stepping Down::
* Recruiting Developers::
* Legal Matters::
* Clean Ups::
* Platforms::
* Mail::
* Old Versions::
* Distributions::
* Web Pages::
* Ethical and Philosophical Consideration::
* Terminology::
* Interviews and Speeches::
* Hosting::
* Donations::
* Free Software Directory::
* Using the Proofreaders List::
* GNU Free Documentation License::
* Index::
@end menu

@node Preface
@chapter About This Document

This file contains guidelines and advice for someone who is the
maintainer of a GNU program on behalf of the GNU Project.  Everyone is
entitled to change and redistribute GNU software; you need not pay
attention to this file to get permission.  But if you want to maintain
a version for widespread distribution, we suggest you follow these
guidelines.  If you are or would like to be a GNU maintainer, then it
is essential to follow these guidelines.

In addition to this document, please read and follow the GNU Coding
Standards (@pxref{Top, , Contents, standards, GNU Coding Standards}).

@cindex @code{} email address
@cindex Savannah repository for @code{gnustandards}
@cindex @code{gnustandards} project repository
Please send corrections or suggestions for this document to
@email{}.  If you make a suggestion, please
include suggested new wording if you can.  We prefer a context diff to
the Texinfo source, but if that's difficult for you, you can make a
diff for some other version of this document, or propose it in any way
that makes it clear.  The source repository for this document can be
found at @url{}.

@cindex @code{} mailing list
If you want to receive diffs for every change to these GNU documents,
join the mailing list @code{}, for
instance via the web interface at
Archives are also available there.

@cindex Piercy, Marge
This document uses the gender-neutral third-person pronouns ``person'',
``per'', ``pers'' and ``perself'' which were promoted, and perhaps
invented, by Marge Piercy in @cite{Woman on the Edge of Time}.  They are
used just like ``she'', ``her'', ``hers'' and ``herself'', except that
they apply equally to males and females.  For example, ``Person placed
per new program under the GNU GPL, to let the public benefit from per
work, and to enable per to feel person has done the right thing.''

This release of the GNU Maintainer Information was last updated

@node Getting Help
@chapter Getting Help
@cindex help, getting

@cindex @code{} mailing list
If you have any general questions or encounter a situation where it
isn't clear how to get something done or who to ask, you (as a GNU
contributor) can always write to @email{}, which is a
list of a few experienced GNU folks who have volunteered to answer
questions.  Any GNU-related question is fair game for the
@code{mentors} list.

@cindex advisory committee
The GNU Advisory Committee helps to coordinate activities in the GNU
project on behalf of RMS (Richard Stallman, the Chief GNUisance).  If
you have any organizational questions or concerns you can contact the
committee at @email{}.  See
@url{} for the current
committee members.  Additional information is in

@cindex down, when GNU machines are
@cindex outage, of GNU machines
@cindex @url{}
If you find that any GNU computer systems (@code{},
@code{}, @code{}, @code{},
@dots{}) seem to be down, you can check the current status at
@url{}.  Most likely the problem, if
it can be alleviated at the FSF end, is already being worked on.

@cindex sysadmin, FSF
@cindex FSF system administrators
@cindex GNU system administrators
The FSF system administrators are responsible for the network and GNU
hardware.  You can email them at @email{}, but please
try not to burden them unnecessarily.

@node GNU Accounts and Resources
@chapter GNU Accounts and Resources
@cindex shell account, on fencepost
@cindex @code{} GNU login host
@cindex resources for GNU developers
@cindex development resources

@c We want to repeat this text later, so define a macro.
@macro gdgnuorgtext
The directory @file{/gd/gnuorg} mentioned throughout this document is
available on the general GNU server, currently
@code{}.  If you are the maintainer of a GNU package,
you should have an account there.  If you don't have one already, see
@url{}.  You can also
ask for accounts for people who significantly help you in working on
the package.  Such GNU login accounts include email
(see @url{}).
@end macro


Other resources available to GNU maintainers are described at
@url{}, as well as throughout
this document.  In brief:

@itemize @bullet
@item Login accounts (see above).

@item Version control (@pxref{Old Versions}).

@item Mailing lists (@pxref{Mail}).

@item Web pages (@pxref{Web Pages}).

@item Mirrored release areas (@pxref{Distributions}).

@cindex Hydra
@cindex @code{platform-testers} mailing list
@item Pre-release portability testing, both automated (via Hydra) and
on request (via volunteers).

@end itemize

@node Stepping Down
@chapter Stepping Down
@cindex stepping down as maintainer
@cindex resigning as maintainer

With good fortune, you will continue maintaining your package for many
decades.  But sometimes for various reasons maintainers decide to step

If you're the official maintainer of a GNU package and you decide to
step down, please inform the GNU Project (@email{}).
We need to know that the package no longer has a maintainer, so we can
look for and appoint a new maintainer.

@cindex @email{}
If you have an idea for who should take over, please tell
@email{} your suggestion.  The appointment of a new
maintainer needs the GNU Project's confirmation, but your judgment that
a person is capable of doing the job will carry a lot of weight.

As your final act as maintainer, it would be helpful to set up or
update the package under @code{} (@pxref{Old
Versions}).  This will make it much easier for the new maintainer to
pick up where you left off and will ensure that the source tree is not
misplaced if it takes us a while to find a new maintainer.

@node Recruiting Developers
@chapter Recruiting Developers

Unless your package is a fairly small, you probably won't do all the
work on it yourself.  Most maintainers recruit other developers to help.

Sometimes people will offer to help.  Some of them will be capable,
while others will not.  It's up to you to determine who provides useful
help, and encourage those people to participate more.

Some of the people who offer to help will support the GNU Project, while
others may be interested for other reasons.  Some will support the goals
of the Free Software Movement, but some may not.  They are all welcome
to help with the work---we don't ask people's views or motivations
before they contribute to GNU packages.

As a consequence, you cannot expect all contributors to support the GNU
Project, or to have a concern for its policies and standards.  So part
of your job as maintainer is to exercise your authority on these points
when they arise.  No matter how much of the work other people do, you
are in charge of what goes in the release.  When a crucial point arises,
you should calmly state your decision and stick to it.

Sometimes a package has several co-maintainers who share the role of
maintainer.  Unlike developers who help, co-maintainers have actually
been appointed jointly as the maintainers of the package, and they carry
out the maintainer's functions together.  If you would like to propose
some of your developers as co-maintainers, please contact

We're happy to acknowledge all major contributors to GNU packages on
the @url{} web page.  Please send
an entry for yourself to @email{}, and feel free to
suggest it to other significant developers on your package.

@node Legal Matters
@chapter Legal Matters
@cindex legal matters

This chapter describes procedures you should follow for legal reasons
as you maintain the program, to avoid legal difficulties.

* Copyright Papers::
* Legally Significant::
* Recording Contributors::
* Copying from Other Packages::
* Copyright Notices::
* License Notices::
* External Libraries::
@end menu

@node Copyright Papers
@section Copyright Papers
@cindex copyright papers
@cindex assignments, copyright
@cindex disclaimers

If you maintain an FSF-copyrighted package
certain legal procedures are required when incorporating legally significant
changes written by other people.  This ensures that the FSF has the
legal right to distribute the package, and the standing to defend its
GPL-covered status in court if necessary.

@strong{Before} incorporating significant changes, make sure that the
person who wrote the changes has signed copyright papers and that the
Free Software Foundation has received and signed them.  We may also
need an employer's disclaimer from the person's employer, which
confirms that the work was not part of the person's job and the
employer makes no claim on it.  However, a copy of the person's
employment contract, showing that the employer can't claim any rights
to this work, is often sufficient.

If the employer does claim the work was part of the person's job, and
there is no clear basis to say that claim is invalid, then we have to
consider it valid.  Then the person cannot assign copyright, but the
employer can.  Many companies have done this.  Please ask the
appropriate managers to contact @code{}.

@cindex data base of GNU copyright assignments
To check whether papers have been received, look in
@file{/gd/gnuorg/copyright.list}.  If you can't look there directly,
@email{} can check for you.  Our clerk can also
check for papers that are waiting to be entered and inform you when
expected papers arrive.

@cindex @file{/gd/gnuorg} directory
@c This paragraph intentionally duplicates information given
@c near the beginning of the file--to make sure people don't miss it.

In order for the contributor to know person should sign papers, you need
to ask per for the necessary papers.  If you don't know per well, and you
don't know that person is used to our ways of handling copyright papers,
then it might be a good idea to raise the subject with a message like

Would you be willing to assign the copyright to the Free Software
Foundation, so that we could install it in @var{package}?
@end quotation


Would you be willing to sign a copyright disclaimer to put this change
in the public domain, so that we can install it in @var{package}?
@end quotation

If the contributor then wants more information, you can send per the file
@file{/gd/gnuorg/conditions.text}, which explains per options (assign
vs.@: disclaim) and their consequences.

Once the conversation is under way and the contributor is ready for
more details, you should send one of the templates that are found in
the directory @file{/gd/gnuorg/Copyright/}; they are also available
from the @file{doc/Copyright/} directory of the @code{gnulib} project
at @url{}.  This section
explains which templates you should use in which circumstances.
@strong{Please don't use any of the templates except for those listed
here, and please don't change the wording.}

Once the conversation is under way, you can send the contributor the
precise wording and instructions by email.  Before you do this, make
sure to get the current version of the template you will use!  We change
these templates occasionally---don't keep using an old version.

For large changes, ask the contributor for an assignment.  Send per a
copy of the file @file{request-assign.changes}.  (Like all the
@samp{request-} files, it is in @file{/gd/gnuorg/Copyright} and in

For medium to small changes, request a personal disclaimer by sending
per the file @file{request-disclaim.changes}.

If the contributor is likely to keep making changes, person might want
to sign an assignment for all per future changes to the program.  So it
is useful to offer per that alternative.  If person wants to do it that
way, send per the @file{request-assign.future}.

When you send a @file{request-} file, you don't need to fill in anything
before sending it.  Just send the file verbatim to the contributor.  The
file gives per instructions for how to ask the FSF to mail per the
papers to sign.  The @file{request-} file also raises the issue of
getting an employer's disclaimer from the contributor's employer.

When the contributor emails the form to the FSF, the FSF sends per an
electronic (usually PDF) copy of the assignment.  This, or whatever
response is required, should happen within five business days of the
initial request.  If no reply from the FSF comes after that time,
please send a reminder.  If you still get no response after an
additional week, please write to @email{} about it.

After receiving the necessary form, all contributors then print it and
sign it.  Contributors located in the USA or Germany can then email or
fax a scanned copy back to the FSF (or use postal mail, if they
prefer).  Contributors residing outside the USA or Germany must mail
the signed form to the FSF via postal mail.  To emphasize, the
necessary distinction is between residents and non-residents of these
countries; citizenship does not matter.

For less common cases, we have template files you should send to the
contributor.  Be sure to fill in the name of the person and the name
of the program in these templates, where it says @samp{NAME OF PERSON}
and @samp{NAME OF PROGRAM}, before sending; otherwise person might
sign without noticing them, and the papers would be useless.  Note
that in some templates there is more than one place to put the name of
the program or the name of the person; be sure to change all of them.
All the templates raise the issue of an employer's disclaimer as well.

@cindex legal papers for changes in manuals
You do not need to ask for separate papers for a manual that is
distributed only in the software package it describes.  But if we
sometimes distribute the manual separately (for instance, if we publish
it as a book), then we need separate legal papers for changes in the
manual.  For smaller changes, use
@file{disclaim.changes.manual}; for larger ones, use
@file{assign.changes.manual}.  To cover both past and future
changes to a manual, you can use @file{assign.future.manual}.
For a translation of a manual, use @file{assign.translation.manual}.

For translations of program strings (as used by GNU Gettext, for
example; @pxref{Internationalization,,, standards, GNU Coding
Standards}), use @file{disclaim.translation}.  If you make use of the
Translation Project (@url{}) facilities,
please check with the TP coordinators that they have sent the
contributor the papers; if they haven't, then you should send the
papers.  In any case, you should wait for the confirmation from the
FSF that the signed papers have been received and accepted before
integrating the new contributor's material, as usual.

If a contributor is reluctant to sign an assignment for a large change,
and is willing to sign a disclaimer instead, that is acceptable, so you
should offer this alternative if it helps you reach agreement.  We
prefer an assignment for a larger change, so that we can enforce the GNU
GPL for the new text, but a disclaimer is enough to let us use the text.

If you maintain a collection of programs, occasionally someone will
contribute an entire separate program or manual that should be added to
the collection.  Then you can use the files
@file{request-assign.program}, @file{disclaim.program},
@file{assign.manual}, and @file{disclaim.manual}.  We very much prefer
an assignment for a new separate program or manual, unless it is quite
small, but a disclaimer is acceptable if the contributor insists on
handling the matter that way.

If a contributor wants the FSF to publish only a pseudonym, that is
ok.  The contributor should say this, and state the desired pseudonym,
when answering the @file{request-} form.  The actual legal papers will
use the real name, but the FSF will publish only the pseudonym.  When
using one of the other forms, fill in the real name but ask the
contributor to discuss the use of a pseudonym with
@email{} before sending back the signed form.

@strong{Although there are other templates besides the ones listed here,
they are for special circumstances; please do not use them without
getting advice from @email{}.}

If you are not sure what to do, then please ask @email{} for
advice; if the contributor asks you questions about the meaning and
consequences of the legal papers, and you don't know the answers, you
can forward them to @email{} and we will answer.

@strong{Please do not try changing the wording of a template yourself.
If you think a change is needed, please talk with @email{},
and we will work with a lawyer to decide what to do.}

@node Legally Significant
@section Legally Significant Changes

If a person contributes more than around 15 lines of code and/or text
that is legally significant for copyright purposes, we
need copyright papers for that contribution, as described above.

A change of just a few lines (less than 15 or so) is not legally
significant for copyright.  A regular series of repeated changes, such
as renaming a symbol, is not legally significant even if the symbol
has to be renamed in many places.  Keep in mind, however, that a
series of minor changes by the same person can add up to a significant
contribution.  What counts is the total contribution of the person; it
is irrelevant which parts of it were contributed when.

Copyright does not cover ideas.  If someone contributes ideas but no
text, these ideas may be morally significant as contributions, and
worth giving credit for, but they are not significant for copyright
purposes.  Likewise, bug reports do not count for copyright purposes.

When giving credit to people whose contributions are not legally
significant for copyright purposes, be careful to make that fact
clear.  The credit should clearly say they did not contribute
significant code or text.

When people's contributions are not legally significant because they
did not write code, do this by stating clearly what their contribution
was.  For instance, you could write this:

 * Ideas by:
 *   Richard Mlynarik <> (1997)
 *   Masatake Yamato <> (1999)
@end example

@code{Ideas by:} makes it clear that Mlynarik and Yamato here
contributed only ideas, not code.  Without the @code{Ideas by:} note,
several years from now we would find it hard to be sure whether they
had contributed code, and we might have to track them down and ask

When you record a small patch in a change log file, first search for
previous changes by the same person, and see if per past
contributions, plus the new one, add up to something legally
significant.  If so, you should get copyright papers for all per
changes before you install the new change.

If that is not so, you can install the small patch.  Write @samp{(tiny
change)} after the patch author's name, like this:

2002-11-04  Robert Fenk  <>  (tiny change)
@end example

@node Recording Contributors
@section Recording Contributors
@cindex recording contributors

@strong{Keep correct records of which portions were written by whom.}
This is very important.  These records should say which files or
parts of files were written by each person, and which files or
parts of files were revised by each person.  This should include
installation scripts as well as manuals and documentation

These records don't need to be as detailed as a change log.  They
don't need to distinguish work done at different times, only different
people.  They don't need describe changes in more detail than which
files or parts of a file were changed.  And they don't need to say
anything about the function or purpose of a file or change---the
Register of Copyrights doesn't care what the text does, just who wrote
or contributed to which parts.

The list should also mention if certain files distributed in the same
package are really a separate program.

Only the contributions that are legally significant for copyright
purposes (@pxref{Legally Significant}) need to be listed.  Small
contributions, bug reports, ideas, etc., can be omitted.

For example, this would describe an early version of GAS:

Dean Elsner   first version of all files except gdb-lines.c and m68k.c.
Jay Fenlason  entire files gdb-lines.c and m68k.c, most of app.c,
              plus extensive changes in messages.c, input-file.c, write.c
              and revisions elsewhere.

Note: GAS is distributed with the files obstack.c and obstack.h, but
they are considered a separate package, not part of GAS proper.
@end display

@cindex @file{AUTHORS} file
Please keep these records in a file named @file{AUTHORS} in the source
directory for the program itself.

You can use the change log as the basis for these records, if you
wish.  Just make sure to record the correct author for each change
(the person who wrote the change, @emph{not} the person who installed
it), and add @samp{(tiny change)} for those changes that are too
trivial to matter for copyright purposes.  Later on you can update the
@file{AUTHORS} file from the change log.  This can even be done
automatically, if you are careful about the formatting of the change
log entries.

It is ok to include other email addresses, names, and program
information in @file{AUTHORS}, such as bug-reporting information.
@xref{Standard Mailing Lists}.

@node Copying from Other Packages
@section Copying from Other Packages

This section explains legal considerations when merging code from
other packages into your package.  Using an entire module as a whole,
and maintaining its separate identity, is a different issue;
see @ref{External Libraries}.

* Non-FSF-Copyrighted Package::
* FSF-Copyrighted Package::
@end menu

@node Non-FSF-Copyrighted Package
@subsection Non-FSF-Copyrighted Package

Here we suppose that your package is not FSF-copyrighted.

When you copy legally significant code from another free software
package with a GPL-compatible license, you should look in the
package's records to find out the authors of the part you are copying,
and list them as the contributors of the code that you copied.  If all
you did was copy it, not write it, then for copyright purposes you are
@emph{not} one of the contributors of @emph{this} code.

If the code is supposed to be in the public domain, make sure that is
really true: that all the authors of the code have disclaimed
copyright interest.  Then, when copying the new files into your
project, add a brief note at the beginning of the files recording the
authors, the public domain status, and anything else relevant.

On the other hand, when merging some public domain code into an
existing file covered by the GPL (or LGPL or other free software
license), there is no reason to indicate the pieces which are public
domain.  The notice saying that the whole file is under the GPL (or
other license) is legally sufficient.

Using code that is not in the public domain, but rather released under
a GPL-compatible free license, may require preserving copyright
notices or other steps.  Of course, you should follow the requirements

@node FSF-Copyrighted Package
@subsection FSF-Copyrighted Package

If you are maintaining an FSF-copyrighted package, please don't copy
in any code without verifying first that we have suitable legal papers
for that code.

If you are copying from another FSF-copyrighted package, then we
presumably have papers for that package's own code, but you must check
whether the code you are copying is part of an external library; if
that is the case, we don't have papers for it, so you should not copy
it.  It can't hurt in any case to double-check with the developer of
that package.

When you are copying code for which we do not already have papers, you
need to get papers for it.  It may be difficult to get the papers if
the code was not written as a contribution to your package, but that
doesn't mean it is ok to do without them.  If you cannot get papers
for the code, you can only use it as an external library
(@pxref{External Libraries}).

@node Copyright Notices
@section Copyright Notices
@cindex copyright notices in program files

You should maintain a proper copyright notice and a license
notice in each nontrivial file in the package.  (Any file more than ten
lines long is nontrivial for this purpose.)  This includes header files
and interface definitions for
building or running the program, documentation files, and any supporting
files.  If a file has been explicitly placed in the public domain, then
instead of a copyright notice, it should have a notice saying explicitly
that it is in the public domain.

Even image files and sound files should contain copyright notices and
license notices, if their format permits.  Some formats do not have
room for textual annotations; for these files, state the copyright and
copying permissions in a @file{README} file in the same directory.

Change log files should have a copyright notice and license notice at
the end, since new material is added at the beginning but the end
remains the end.

When a file is automatically generated from some other file in the
distribution, it is useful for the automatic procedure to copy the
copyright notice and permission notice of the file it is generated
from, if possible.  Alternatively, put a notice at the beginning saying
which file it is generated from.

A copyright notice looks like this:

Copyright (C) @var{year1}, @var{year2}, @var{year3} @var{copyright-holder}
@end example

The word @samp{Copyright} must always be in English, by international

The @var{copyright-holder} may be the Free Software Foundation, Inc., or
someone else; you should know who is the copyright holder for your

Replace the @samp{(C)} with a C-in-a-circle symbol if it is available.
For example, use @samp{@@copyright@{@}} in a Texinfo file.  However,
stick with parenthesized @samp{C} unless you know that C-in-a-circle
will work.  For example, a program's standard @option{--version}
message should use parenthesized @samp{C} by default, though message
translations may use C-in-a-circle in locales where that symbol is
known to work.  Alternatively, the @samp{(C)} or C-in-a-circle can be
omitted entirely; the word @samp{Copyright} suffices.

To update the list of year numbers, add each year in which you have
made nontrivial changes to the package.  (Here we assume you're using
a publicly accessible revision control server, so that every revision
installed is also immediately and automatically published.)  When you
add the new year, it is not required to keep track of which files have
seen significant changes in the new year and which have not.  It is
recommended and simpler to add the new year to all files in the
package, and be done with it for the rest of the year.

Don't delete old year numbers, though; they are significant since they
indicate when older versions might theoretically go into the public
domain, if the movie companies don't continue buying laws to further
extend copyright.  If you copy a file into the package from some other
program, keep the copyright years that come with the file.

You can use a range (@samp{2008-2010}) instead of listing individual
years (@samp{2008, 2009, 2010}) if and only if: 1)@tie{}every year in
the range, inclusive, really is a ``copyrightable'' year that would be
listed individually; @emph{and} 2)@tie{}you make an explicit statement
in a @file{README} file about this usage.

For files which are regularly copied from another project (such as
@samp{gnulib}), leave the copyright notice as it is in the original.

The copyright statement may be split across multiple lines, both in
source files and in any generated output.  This often happens for
files with a long history, having many different years of

For an FSF-copyrighted package, if you have followed the procedures to
obtain legal papers, each file should have just one copyright holder:
the Free Software Foundation, Inc.  You should edit the file's
copyright notice to list that name and only that name.

But if contributors are not all assigning their copyrights to a single
copyright holder, it can easily happen that one file has several
copyright holders.  Each contributor of nontrivial text is a copyright

In that case, you should always include a copyright notice in the name
of main copyright holder of the file.  You can also include copyright
notices for other copyright holders as well, and this is a good idea
for those who have contributed a large amount and for those who
specifically ask for notices in their names.  (Sometimes the license
on code that you copy in may require preserving certain copyright
notices.)  But you don't have to include a notice for everyone who
contributed to the file (which would be rather inconvenient).

Sometimes a program has an overall copyright notice that refers to the
whole program.  It might be in the @file{README} file, or it might be
displayed when the program starts up.  This copyright notice should
mention the year of completion of the most recent major version; it
can mention years of completion of previous major versions, but that
is optional.

@node License Notices
@section License Notices
@cindex license notices in program files

Every nontrivial file needs a license notice as well as the copyright
notice.  (Without a license notice giving permission to copy and
change the file, the file is non-free.)

The package itself should contain a full copy of GPL in plain text
(conventionally in a file named @file{COPYING}) and the GNU Free
Documentation License (included within your documentation, so there is
no need for a separate plain text version).  If the package contains
any files distributed under the Lesser GPL, it should contain a full
copy of its plain text version also (conventionally in a file named

If you have questions about licensing issues for your GNU package,
please write @email{}.

* Which:         Licensing of GNU Packages.
* Canonical:     Canonical License Sources.
* Code:          License Notices for Code.
* Documentation: License Notices for Documentation.
* Other:         License Notices for Other Files.
@end menu

@node Licensing of GNU Packages
@subsection Licensing of GNU Packages

Normally, GNU packages should use the latest version of the GNU GPL,
with the ``or any later version'' formulation.  @xref{License Notices
for Code}, for the exact wording of the license notice.

Occasionally, a GNU library may provide functionality which is already
widely available to proprietary programs through alternative
implementations; for example, the GNU C Library.  In such cases, the
Lesser GPL should be used (again, for the notice wording,
@pxref{License Notices for Code}).  If a GNU library provides unique
functionality, however, the GNU GPL should be used.
@url{} discusses this
strategic choice.

Some of these libraries need to work with programs released under
GPLv2-only; that is, which allow the GNU GPL version 2 but not later
versions.  In this case, the GNU package should be released under a
dual license: GNU GPL version 2 (or any later version) and the GNU
Lesser GPL version 3 (or any later version).  Here is the notice for
that case:

This file is part of GNU @var{package}.

GNU @var{package} is free software: you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of either:

  * the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free
    Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or (at your
    option) any later version.


  * the GNU General Public License as published by the Free
    Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your
    option) any later version.

or both in parallel, as here.

GNU @var{package} is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
General Public License for more details.

You should have received copies of the GNU General Public License and
the GNU Lesser General Public License along with this program.  If
not, see @url{}.
@end smallexample

For small packages, you can use ``This program'' instead of ``GNU

@node Canonical License Sources
@subsection Canonical License Sources

You can get the official versions of these files from several places.
You can use whichever is the most convenient for you.

@itemize @bullet

The @code{gnulib} project on @code{}, which you
can access via anonymous Git or CVS.  See

@end itemize

The official Texinfo sources for the licenses are also available in
those same places, so you can include them in your documentation.  A
GFDL-covered manual should include the GFDL in this way.  @xref{GNU
Sample Texts,,, texinfo, Texinfo}, for a full example in a Texinfo

@node License Notices for Code
@subsection License Notices for Code

Typically the license notice for program files (including build scripts,
configure files and makefiles) should cite the GPL, like this:

This file is part of GNU @var{package}.

GNU @var{package} is free software: you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as
published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the
License, or (at your option) any later version.

GNU @var{package} is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program.  If not, see @url{}.
@end quotation

But in a small program which is just a few files, you can use
this instead:

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program.  If not, see @url{}.
@end quotation

In either case, for those few packages which use the Lesser GPL
(@pxref{Licensing of GNU Packages}), insert the word ``Lesser'' before
``General'' in @emph{all three} places.
@url{http://@/} discusses application
the GPL in more detail.

@node License Notices for Documentation
@subsection License Notices for Documentation

Documentation files should have license notices also.  Manuals should
use the GNU Free Documentation License.  Following is an example of the
license notice to use after the copyright line(s) using all the
features of the GFDL.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or
any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the
Invariant Sections being ``GNU General Public License'', with the
Front-Cover Texts being ``A GNU Manual'', and with the Back-Cover Texts
as in (a) below.  A copy of the license is included in the section
entitled ``GNU Free Documentation License''.

(a) The FSF's Back-Cover Text is: ``You have the freedom to
copy and modify this GNU manual.  Buying copies from the FSF
supports it in developing GNU and promoting software freedom.''
@end smallexample

If the FSF does not publish this manual on paper, then omit the last
sentence in (a) that talks about copies from GNU Press.  If the FSF is
not the copyright holder, then replace @samp{FSF} with the appropriate

Please adjust the list of invariant sections as appropriate for your
manual.  If there are none, then say ``with no Invariant Sections''.
If your manual is not published by the FSF, and under 400 pages, you
can omit both cover texts.  However, if it is copyright FSF, always
ask the FSF what to do.

@xref{GNU Sample Texts,,, texinfo, Texinfo}, for a full example in a
Texinfo manual, and see
@url{} for more advice about
how to use the GNU FDL.

If you write a manual that people might want to buy on paper, please
write to @email{} to tell the FSF about it.  We
might want to publish it.

If the manual is over 400 pages, or if the FSF thinks it might be a
good choice for publishing on paper, then please include the GNU GPL,
as in the notice above.  Please also include our standard invariant
section which explains the importance of free documentation.  Write to
@email{} to get a copy of this section.

When you distribute several manuals together in one software package,
their on-line forms can share a single copy of the GFDL (see
section@tie{}6).  However, the printed (@samp{.dvi}, @samp{.pdf},
@dots{}) forms should each contain a copy of the GFDL, unless they are
set up to be printed and published only together.  Therefore, it is
usually simplest to include the GFDL in each manual.

@node License Notices for Other Files
@subsection License Notices for Other Files

Small supporting files, short manuals (under 300 lines long) and rough
documentation (@file{README} files, @file{INSTALL} files, etc.)@: can
use a simple all-permissive license like this one:

Copying and distribution of this file, with or without modification,
are permitted in any medium without royalty provided the copyright
notice and this notice are preserved.  This file is offered as-is,
without any warranty.
@end smallexample

Older versions of this license did not have the second sentence with
the express warranty disclaimer.  There is no urgent need to update
existing files, but new files should use the new text.

If your package distributes Autoconf macros that are intended to be
used (hence distributed) by third-party packages under possibly
incompatible licenses, you may also use the above all-permissive
license for these macros.

@node External Libraries
@section External Libraries

When maintaining an FSF-copyrighted GNU package, you may occasionally
want to use a general-purpose free software module which offers a
useful functionality, as a ``library'' facility (though the module is
not always packaged technically as a library).

Make sure the license of the module is compatible with current @emph{and
future} GPL versions.  ``GNU GPL version 3 or later'' is good, and
so is anything which includes permission for use under those GPL
versions (including ``GNU GPL version 2 or later'', ``LGPL version
@var{n} or later'', ``LGPL version 2.1'', ``GNU Affero GPL version 3
or later'').  Lax permissive licenses are ok too, since they are
compatible with all GPL versions.

``GPL version 2 only'' is obviously unacceptable because it is
incompatible with GPL version 3.  ``GPL version 3 only'' and ``GPL
version 2 or 3 only'' have a subtler problem: they would be incompatible
with GPL version 4, if we ever make one, so the module would become an
obstacle to upgrading your package's license to ``GPL version 4 or

One package you need to avoid is @code{goffice}, since it allows only
GPL versions 2 and 3.

It would be unreasonable to ask the author of the external module to
assign its copyright to the FSF.  After all, person did not write
it specifically as a contribution to your package, so it would be
impertinent to ask, out of the blue, ``Please give the FSF your

So make your program use the module but without treating the module as
a part of your program.  There are two reasonable methods of doing

Assume the module is already installed on the system, and use it when
linking your program.  This is only reasonable if the module really has
the form of a library.

Include the module in your package, putting the source in a separate
subdirectory whose @file{README} file says, ``This is not part of the
GNU FOO program, but is used with GNU FOO.''  Then set up your makefiles
to build this module and link it into the executable.

For this method, it is not necessary to treat the module as a library
and make a @samp{.a} file from it.  You can link with the @samp{.o}
files directly in the usual manner.
@end enumerate

Both of these methods create an irregularity, and our lawyers have told
us to minimize the amount of such irregularity.  So consider using these
methods only for general-purpose modules that were written for other
programs and released separately for general use.  For anything that was
written as a contribution to your package, please get papers signed.

@node Clean Ups
@chapter Cleaning Up Changes
@cindex contributions, accepting
@cindex quality of changes suggested by others

Don't feel obligated to include every change that someone asks you to
include.  You must judge which changes are improvements---partly based
on what you think the users will like, and partly based on your own
judgment of what is better.  If you think a change is not good, you
should reject it.

If someone sends you changes which are useful, but written in an ugly
way or hard to understand and maintain in the future, don't hesitate to
ask per to clean up their changes before you merge them.  Since the
amount of work we can do is limited, the more we convince others to help
us work efficiently, the faster GNU will advance.

If the contributor will not or can not make the changes clean enough,
then it is legitimate to say ``I can't install this in its present form;
I can only do so if you clean it up.''  Invite per to distribute per
changes another way, or to find other people to make them clean enough
for you to install and maintain.

The only reason to do these cleanups yourself is if (1) it is easy, less
work than telling the author what to clean up, or (2) the change is an
important one, important enough to be worth the work of cleaning it up.

The GNU Coding Standards are a good thing to send people when you ask
them to clean up changes (@pxref{Top, , Contents, standards, GNU Coding
Standards}).  The Emacs Lisp manual contains an appendix that gives
coding standards for Emacs Lisp programs; it is good to urge Lisp authors to
read it (@pxref{Tips, , Tips and Conventions, elisp, The GNU Emacs Lisp
Reference Manual}).

@node Platforms
@chapter Platforms to Support

Most GNU packages run on a wide range of platforms.  These platforms are
not equally important.

The most important platforms for a GNU package to support are GNU and
GNU/Linux.  Developing the GNU operating system is the whole point of
the GNU Project; a GNU package exists to make the whole GNU system more
powerful.  So please keep that goal in mind and let it shape your work.
For instance, every new feature you add should work on GNU, and
GNU/Linux if possible too.  If a new feature only runs on GNU and
GNU/Linux, it could still be acceptable.  However, a feature that runs
only on other systems and not on GNU or GNU/Linux makes no sense in a
GNU package.

You will naturally want to keep the program running on all the platforms
it supports.  But you personally will not have access to most of these
platforms---so how should you do it?

Don't worry about trying to get access to all of these platforms.  Even
if you did have access to all the platforms, it would be inefficient for
you to test the program on each platform yourself.  Instead, you should
test the program on a few platforms, including GNU or GNU/Linux, and let
the users test it on the other platforms.  You can do this through a
pretest phase before the real release; when there is no reason to expect
problems, in a package that is mostly portable, you can just make a
release and let the users tell you if anything unportable was

It is important to test the program personally on GNU or GNU/Linux,
because these are the most important platforms for a GNU package.  If
you don't have access to one of these platforms, as a GNU maintainer
you can get access to the general GNU login machine; see

Supporting other platforms is optional---we do it when that seems like
a good idea, but we don't consider it obligatory.  If the users don't
take care of a certain platform, you may have to desupport it unless
and until users come forward to help.  Conversely, if a user offers
changes to support an additional platform, you will probably want to
install them, but you don't have to.  If you feel the changes are
complex and ugly, if you think that they will increase the burden of
future maintenance, you can and should reject them.  This includes
both free or mainly-free platforms such as OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and
NetBSD, and non-free platforms such as Windows.

@node Mail
@chapter Dealing With Mail
@cindex email

This chapter describes setting up mailing lists for your package, and
gives advice on how to handle bug reports and random requests once you
have them.

* Standard Mailing Lists::  @samp{} and other standard names.
* Creating Mailing Lists::  The best way is to use Savannah.
* Replying to Mail::        Advice on replying to incoming mail.
@end menu

@node Standard Mailing Lists
@section Standard Mailing Lists

@cindex standard mailing lists
@cindex mailing lists, standard names of

@cindex mailing list for bug reports
Once a program is in use, you will get bug reports for it.  Most GNU
programs have their own special lists for sending bug reports.  The
advertised bug-reporting email address should always be
@samp{bug-@var{package}}, to help show users that the program
is a GNU package, but it is ok to set up that list to forward to another
site if you prefer.

@cindex @email{}
We also have a catch-all list, @email{}, which is
used for all GNU programs that don't have their own specific lists.  But
nowadays we want to give each program its own bug-reporting list and
move away from using @email{bug-gnu-utils}.

@xref{Replying to Mail}, for more about handling and tracking bug

@cindex help for users, mailing list for
Some GNU programs with many users have another mailing list,
@samp{help-@var{package}.org}, for people to ask other users for help.
If your program has many users, you should create such a list for it.
For a fairly new program, which doesn't have a large user base yet, it
is better not to bother with this.

@cindex announcements, mailing list for
If you wish, you can also have a mailing list
@samp{info-@var{package}} for announcements (@pxref{Announcements}).
Any other mailing lists you find useful can also be created.

The package distribution should state the name of all the package's
mailing lists in a prominent place, and ask users to help us by
reporting bugs appropriately.  The top-level @file{README} file and/or
@file{AUTHORS} file are good places.  Mailing list information should
also be included in the manual and the package web pages (@pxref{Web

@node Creating Mailing Lists
@section Creating Mailing Lists

@cindex creating mailing lists
@cindex mailing lists, creating

Using the web interface on @code{} is by far the
easiest way to create normal mailing lists, managed through Mailman on
the GNU mail server.  Once you register your package on Savannah, you
can create (and remove) lists yourself through the `Mailing Lists'
menu, without needing to wait for intervention by anyone else.
Furthermore, lists created through Savannah will have a reasonable
default configuration for antispam purposes (see below).

To create and maintain simple aliases and unmanaged lists, you can
edit @file{/com/mailer/aliases} on the main GNU server.  If you don't
have an account there, please read
@url{} (@pxref{GNU
Accounts and Resources}).

But if you don't want to learn how to do those things, you can ask
@email{} to help you.

@cindex spam prevention
You should moderate postings from non-subscribed addresses on your
mailing lists, to prevent propagation of unwanted messages (``spam'')
to subscribers and to the list archives.  For lists controlled by
Mailman, you can do this by setting @code{Privacy Options - Sender
Filter - generic_nonmember_action} to @code{Hold}, and then
periodically (daily is best) reviewing the held messages, accepting
the real ones and discarding the junk.

Lists created through Savannah will have this setting, and a number of
others, such that spam will be automatically deleted (after a short
delay).  The Savannah mailing list page describes all the details.
You should still review the held messages in order to approve any that
are real.

@node Replying to Mail
@section Replying to Mail

@cindex responding to bug reports
@cindex bug reports, handling
@cindex help requests, handling

When you receive bug reports, keep in mind that bug reports are crucial
for your work.  If you don't know about problems, you cannot fix them.
So always thank each person who sends a bug report.

You don't have an obligation to give more response than that, though.
The main purpose of bug reports is to help you contribute to the
community by improving the next version of the program.  Many of the
people who report bugs don't realize this---they think that the point is
for you to help them individually.  Some will ask you to focus on that
@emph{instead of} on making the program better.  If you comply with
their wishes, you will have been distracted from the job of maintaining
the program.

For example, people sometimes report a bug in a vague (and therefore
useless) way, and when you ask for more information, they say, ``I just
wanted to see if you already knew the solution'' (in which case the bug
report would do nothing to help improve the program).  When this
happens, you should explain to them the real purpose of bug reports.  (A
canned explanation will make this more efficient.)

When people ask you to put your time into helping them use the program,
it may seem ``helpful'' to do what they ask.  But it is much @emph{less}
helpful than improving the program, which is the maintainer's real job.

By all means help individual users when you feel like it, if you feel
you have the time available.  But be careful to limit the amount of time
you spend doing this---don't let it eat away the time you need to
maintain the program!  Know how to say no; when you are pressed for
time, just ``thanks for the bug report---I will fix it'' is enough

Some GNU packages, such as Emacs and GCC, come with advice about how
to make bug reports useful.  Copying and adapting that could be very
useful for your package.

@cindex @url{}
@cindex bug reports, email tracker for
@cindex bug reports, web tracker for
If you would like to use an email-based bug tracking system, see
@url{}; this can be connected with the regular
bug-reporting address.  Alternatively, if you would like to use a
web-based bug tracking system, Savannah supports this (@pxref{Old
Versions}), but please don't fail to accept bugs by regular email as
well---we don't want to put up unnecessary barriers against users
submitting reports.

@node Old Versions
@chapter Recording Old Versions
@cindex version control

It is very important to keep backup files of all source files of GNU.
You can do this using a source control system (such as Bazaar, RCS,
CVS, Git, Subversion, @dots{}) if you like.  An easy way to use
many such systems is via the Version Control library in Emacs
(@pxref{Introduction to VC,, Introduction to Version Control, emacs,
The GNU Emacs Manual}).

The history of previous revisions and log entries is very important for
future maintainers of the package, so even if you do not make it
publicly accessible, be careful not to put anything in the repository or
change log that you would not want to hand over to another maintainer
some day.

@cindex @code{}
The GNU Project provides a server that GNU packages can use
for source control and other package needs: @code{}.
Savannah is managed by @email{}.  For more
details on using and contributing to Savannah, see

It's not an absolute requirement, but all GNU maintainers are strongly
encouraged to take advantage of Savannah, as sharing such a central
point can serve to foster a sense of community among GNU developers as
well as help in keeping up with project management.  Please don't mark
Savannah projects for GNU packages as private; that defeats a large
part of the purpose of using Savannah in the first place.

@cindex @code{} mailing list
If you do use Savannah, please subscribe to the
@email{} mailing list
(@url{}).  This
is a very low-volume list to keep Savannah users informed of system
upgrades, problems, and the like.

@node Distributions
@chapter Distributions

Please follow the GNU conventions when making GNU software

* Distribution tar Files::
* Distribution Patches::
* Distribution on
* Test Releases::
* Automated FTP Uploads::
* Announcements::
@end menu

@node Distribution tar Files
@section Distribution tar Files
@cindex distribution, tar files

The tar file for version @var{m}.@var{n} of program @code{foo} should be
named @file{foo-@var{m}.@var{n}.tar}.  It should unpack into a
subdirectory named @file{foo-@var{m}.@var{n}}.  Tar files should not
unpack into files in the current directory, because this is inconvenient
if the user happens to unpack into a directory with other files in it.

Here is how the @file{Makefile} for Bison creates the tar file.
This method is good for other programs.

        echo bison-`sed -e '/version_string/!d' \
          -e 's/[^0-9.]*\([0-9.]*\).*/\1/' -e q version.c` > .fname
        -rm -rf `cat .fname`
        mkdir `cat .fname`
        dst=`cat .fname`; for f in $(DISTFILES); do \
           ln $(srcdir)/$$f $$dst/$$f || @{ echo copying $$f; \
             cp -p $(srcdir)/$$f $$dst/$$f ; @} \
        tar --gzip -chf `cat .fname`.tar.gz `cat .fname`
        -rm -rf `cat .fname` .fname
@end example

Source files that are symbolic links to other file systems cannot be
installed in the temporary directory using @code{ln}, so use @code{cp}
if @code{ln} fails.

@pindex automake
Using Automake is a good way to take care of writing the @code{dist}

@node Distribution Patches
@section Distribution Patches
@cindex patches, against previous releases

If the program is large, it is useful to make a set of diffs for each
release, against the previous important release.

At the front of the set of diffs, put a short explanation of which
version this is for and which previous version it is relative to.
Also explain what else people need to do to update the sources
properly (for example, delete or rename certain files before
installing the diffs).

The purpose of having diffs is that they are small.  To keep them
small, exclude files that the user can easily update.  For example,
exclude info files, DVI files, tags tables, output files of Bison or
Flex.  In Emacs diffs, we exclude compiled Lisp files, leaving it up
to the installer to recompile the patched sources.

When you make the diffs, each version should be in a directory suitably
named---for example, @file{gcc-2.3.2} and @file{gcc-2.3.3}.  This way,
it will be very clear from the diffs themselves which version is which.

@pindex diff
@pindex patch
@cindex time stamp in diffs
If you use GNU @code{diff} to make the patch, use the options
@samp{-rc2P}.  That will put any new files into the output as ``entirely
different''.  Also, the patch's context diff headers should have dates
and times in Universal Time using traditional Unix format, so that patch
recipients can use GNU @code{patch}'s @samp{-Z} option.  For example,
you could use the following Bourne shell command to create the patch:

LC_ALL=C TZ=UTC0 diff -rc2P gcc-2.3.2 gcc-2.3.3 | \
gzip -9 >gcc-2.3.2-2.3.3.patch.gz
@end example

If the distribution has subdirectories in it, then the diffs probably
include some files in the subdirectories.  To help users install such
patches reliably, give them precise directions for how to run patch.
For example, say this:

To apply these patches, cd to the main directory of the program
and then use `patch -p1'.   `-p1' avoids guesswork in choosing
which subdirectory to find each file in.
@end display

It's wise to test your patch by applying it to a copy of the old
version, and checking that the result exactly matches the new version.

@node Distribution on
@section Distribution on @code{}
@cindex GNU ftp site
@cindex @code{}, the GNU release site

We strongly recommend using @code{} to distribute official
releases.  If you want to also distribute the package from a site of
your own, that is fine.  To use some other site instead of
@code{} is acceptable, provided it allows connections from
anyone anywhere.

@xref{Automated FTP Uploads}, for the procedural details of putting
new versions on @code{}.

@node Test Releases
@section Test Releases
@cindex test releases
@cindex beta releases
@cindex pretest releases

@cindex @code{}, test release site
When you release a greatly changed new major version of a program, you
might want to do so as a pretest.  This means that you make a tar file,
but send it only to a group of volunteers that you have recruited.  (Use
a suitable GNU mailing list/newsgroup to recruit them.)

We normally use the server @code{} for pretests and
prerelease versions.  @xref{Automated FTP Uploads}, for the procedural
details of putting new versions on @code{}.

Once a program gets to be widely used and people expect it to work
solidly, it is a good idea to do pretest releases before each ``real''

There are two ways of handling version numbers for pretest versions.
One method is to treat them as versions preceding the release you are going
to make.

In this method, if you are about to release version 4.6 but you want
to do a pretest first, call it 4.5.90.  If you need a second pretest,
call it 4.5.91, and so on.  If you are really unlucky and ten pretests
are not enough, after 4.5.99 you could advance to 4.5.990 and so on.
(You could also use 4.5.100, but 990 has the advantage of sorting in
the right order.)

The other method is to attach a date to the release number that is
coming.  For a pretest for version 4.6, made on Dec 10, 2002, this
would be 4.6.20021210.  A second pretest made the same day could be

For development snapshots that are not formal pretests, using just
the date without the version numbers is ok too.

One thing that you should never do is to release a pretest with the same
version number as the planned real release.  Many people will look only
at the version number (in the tar file name, in the directory name that
it unpacks into, or wherever they can find it) to determine whether a
tar file is the latest version.  People might look at the test release
in this way and mistake it for the real release.  Therefore, always
change the number when you release changed code.

@node Automated FTP Uploads
@section Automated FTP Uploads

@cindex ftp uploads, automated
In order to upload new releases to @code{} or
@code{}, you first need to register the necessary
information.  Then, you can perform uploads yourself, with no
intervention needed by the system administrators.

The general idea is that releases should be cryptographically signed
before they are made publicly available.

* Automated Upload Registration::
* Automated Upload Procedure::
* FTP Upload Release File Triplet::
* FTP Upload Directive File::
* FTP Upload Directory Trees::
* FTP Upload File Replacement::
* FTP Upload Standalone Directives::
* FTP Upload Directive File - v1.1::
* FTP Upload Directive File - v1.0::
@end menu

@node Automated Upload Registration
@subsection Automated Upload Registration

@cindex registration for uploads
@cindex uploads, registration for

Here is how to register your information so you can perform uploads
for your GNU package:

Create an account for yourself at @url{}, if
you don't already have one.  By the way, this is also needed to
maintain the web pages at @url{} for your project
(@pxref{Web Pages}).

In the @samp{My Account Conf} page on @code{savannah}, upload the GPG
key you will use to sign your packages.  If you haven't created one
before, you can do so with the command @code{gpg --gen-key} (you can
accept and/or confirm the default answers to its questions).

Optional but recommended: Send your key to a GPG public key server:
@code{gpg --keyserver --send-keys @var{keyid}}, where
@var{keyid} is the eight hex digits reported by @code{gpg
--list-public-keys} on the @code{pub} line before the date.  For full
information about GPG, see @url{}.

Compose a message with the following items in some @var{msgfile}.
Then GPG-sign it by running @code{gpg --clearsign @var{msgfile}}, and
finally email the resulting @file{@var{msgfile}.asc} to

Name of package(s) that you are the maintainer for, your
preferred email address, and your Savannah username.

An ASCII armored copy of your GPG key, as an attachment.  (@samp{gpg
--export -a @var{your_key_id} >mykey.asc} should give you this.)

A list of names and preferred email addresses of other individuals you
authorize to make releases for which packages, if any (in the case that you
don't make all releases yourself).

ASCII armored copies of GPG keys for any individuals listed in (3).
@end enumerate
@end enumerate

The administrators will acknowledge your message when they have added
the proper GPG keys as authorized to upload files for the
corresponding packages.

The upload system will email receipts to the given email addresses
when an upload is made, either successfully or unsuccessfully.

@node Automated Upload Procedure
@subsection Automated Upload Procedure

@cindex uploads

Once you have registered your information as described in the previous
section, you can and should do ftp uploads for your package.  There
are two basic kinds of uploads (details in the following sections):

Three related files (a ``triplet'') to upload a file destined for
@code{} or @code{}: @pxref{FTP Upload Release
File Triplet}.

A single (signed) standalone ``directive file'' to perform operations
on the server: @pxref{FTP Upload Standalone Directives}.
@end enumerate

In either case, you upload the file(s) via anonymous ftp to the host
@code{}.  If the upload is destined for
@code{}, place the file(s) in the directory
@file{/incoming/ftp}.  If the upload is destined for
@code{}, place the file(s) in the directory

Uploads are processed every five minutes.  Uploads that are in
progress while the upload processing script is running are handled
properly, so do not worry about the timing of your upload.  Spurious
and stale uploaded files are deleted automatically after 24 hours.

Your designated upload email addresses (@pxref{Automated Upload
Registration}) are sent a message if there are problems processing an
upload for your package.  You also receive a message when an upload
has been successfully processed.

One programmatic way to create and transfer the necessary files is to
use the @code{gnupload} script, which is available from the
@file{build-aux/} directory of the @code{gnulib} project at
@url{}.  Run
@code{gnupload@tie{}--help} for a description and examples.  (With
@code{gnupload}, you specify a destination such as
@samp{}@var{pkgname} rather than using the
@samp{ftp-upload} hostname.)

@code{gnupload} invokes the program @code{ncftpput} to do the actual
transfers; if you don't happen to have the @code{ncftp} package
installed, the @code{ncftpput-ftp} script in the @file{build-aux/}
directory of @code{gnulib} can serve as a replacement.  It uses the
plain command line @code{ftp} program.

If you have difficulties with an upload, email
@email{}.  You can check the archive of uploads
processed at

@node FTP Upload Release File Triplet
@subsection FTP Upload Release File Triplet

@cindex FTP uploads, of release files

Ordinarily, the goal is to upload a new release of your package, let's
say, the source archive @file{foo-1.0.tar.gz}.  To do this, you
simultaneously upload three files:

The file to be distributed; in our example, @file{foo-1.0.tar.gz}.

Detached GPG binary signature file for (1); for example,
@file{foo-1.0.tar.gz.sig}.  Make this with @samp{gpg -b foo-1.0.tar.gz}.

A clearsigned @dfn{directive file}; for example,
@file{foo-1.0.tar.gz.directive.asc}, created with @samp{gpg
--clearsign foo-1.0.tar.gz.directive}.  Its contents are described in
the next section.
@end enumerate

The names of the files are important.  The signature file must have
the same name as the file to be distributed, with an additional
@file{.sig} extension.  The directive file must have the same name as
the file to be distributed, with an additional @file{.directive.asc}
extension.  If you do not follow this naming convention, the upload
@emph{will not be processed}.

@node FTP Upload Directive File
@subsection FTP Upload Directive File

@cindex directive file, for FTP uploads

To repeat, a (signed) @dfn{directive file} must be part of every
upload.  The unsigned original is just a plain text file you can
create with any text editor.  Its name must be, e.g.,
@file{foo-1.0.tar.gz.directive} for accompanying an upload of

After creating the file, run @samp{gpg --clearsign
foo-1.0.tar.gz.directive}, which will create
@file{foo-1.0.tar.gz.directive.asc}; this is the file to be uploaded.

When part of a triplet for uploading a release file, the directive
file must always contain the directives @code{version},
@code{filename} and @code{directory}.  In addition, a @code{comment}
directive is optional.  These directives can be given in any order.

Continuing our example of uploading @file{foo-1.0.tar.gz} for a
package named @code{foo} to @code{}, the values would be as

@table @code
@item version
must be the value @samp{1.2} (the current version, as of May@tie{}2012):@*
@t{version: 1.2}

@item filename
must be the name of the file to be distributed:@*
@t{filename: foo-1.0.tar.gz}

@item directory
specifies the final destination directory where the uploaded file and
its @file{.sig} companion are to be placed.  Here we will put our file
in the top level directory of the package, as is the most common
@t{directory: foo}

@item comment
is optional, and ignored if present:@*
@t{comment: let's hope this works!}
@end table

Putting the above together, the complete contents of the directive
file @file{foo-1.0.tar.gz.directive} for our example would be:

version: 1.2
directory: foo
filename: foo-1.0.tar.gz
comment: let's hope this works!
@end example

Then you @samp{gpg --clearsign} the file as given above, and upload
(using anonymous ftp) the three files:

@table @file
@item foo-1.0.tar.gz
@item foo-1.0.tar.gz.sig
@item foo-1.0.tar.gz.directive.asc
@end table

@noindent to the host @file{}, directory
@file{/incoming/ftp} (for official releases), or the directory
@file{/incoming/alpha} (for test releases).

After the system authenticates the signatures, the files
@file{foo-1.0.tar.gz} and @file{foo-1.0.tar.gz.sig} are placed in
the directory @file{gnu/foo/} on @code{}.  That is, we'll
have made our release available at
@indicateurl{} (and then from
our many mirrors via
@indicateurl{}).  Whew.

A common reason for the upload not succeeding is your GPG signature
not being registered with the upload system.  There is nothing that
makes this happen automatically.  You must email the system
administrators as described above (@pxref{Automated Upload

@node FTP Upload Directory Trees
@subsection FTP Upload Directory Trees

@cindex directory trees, in ftp uploads
@cindex hierarchy, under ftp upload directory
@cindex uploads, directory trees in

You can make any directory hierarchy you like under your package
directory.  The system automatically creates any intermediate
directories you specify in the @code{directory} directive.

Slightly modifying the example above, the following directive file:

version: 1.2
directory: foo/foo-1.0
filename: foo-1.0.tar.gz
comment: creates per-version subdirectory as needed
@end example

would put the tar file in the @file{foo-1.0/} subdirectory of the
package @code{foo}, thus ending up at

However, to keep things simpler for users, we recommend not using
subdirectories, unless perhaps each release of your package consists
of many separate files.

@node FTP Upload File Replacement
@subsection FTP Upload File Replacement

@cindex replacing uploaded files
@cindex uploads, replacing

You can replace existing files that have already been uploaded by
including a directive line @code{replace:@tie{}true}.  For example,
you might like to provide a README file in the release directory and
update it from time to time.  The full directive file for that would
look like this:

replace: true
version: 1.2
directory: foo
filename: README
comment: replaces an existing README
@end example

It is ok if the file to be replaced doesn't already exist; then the
new file is simply added, i.e., the @file{replace} directive has no

When an existing file is replaced, the original is archived to a
private location.  There is no automated or public access to such
archived files; if you want to retrieve or view them, please email

We very strongly discourage replacing an actual software release file,
such as @file{foo-1.0.tar.gz}.  Releases should be unique, and
forever.  If you need to make fixes, make another release.  If you
have an exigent reason for a particular release file to no longer be
available, it can be explicitly archived, as described in the next

If you want to make the current release available under a generic
name, such as @code{foo-latest.tar.gz}, that is better done with
symlinks, also as described in the next section.

@node FTP Upload Standalone Directives
@subsection FTP Upload Standalone Directives

@cindex standalone directives, for ftp uploads
@cindex directives for ftp uploads, standalone

The previous sections describe how to upload a file to be publicly
released.  It's also possible to upload a directive file by itself to
perform a few operations on the upload directory.  The supported
directives are:

@table @code
@item symlink
creates a symlink.

@item rmsymlink
removes a symlink.

@item archive
takes a file or directory offline.
@end table

As for the directives described above, the @code{directory} and
@code{version} directives are still required, the @code{comment}
directive remains optional, and the @code{filename} directive is not

When uploaded by itself, the name of the directive file is not
important.  But it must be still be signed, using @samp{gpg
--clearsign}; the resulting @file{.asc} file is what should be

Here's an example of the full directive file to create a
@file{foo-latest.tar.gz} symlink:

version: 1.2
directory: foo
symlink: foo-1.1.tar.gz foo-latest.tar.gz
comment: create a symlink
@end example

If you include more than one directive in a standalone upload, the
directives are executed in the sequence they are specified in.  If a
directive results in an error, further execution of the upload is

Removing a symbolic link (with @code{rmsymlink}) which does not exist
results in an error.  On the other hand, attempting to create a
symbolic link that already exists (with @code{symlink}) is not an
error.  In this case @code{symlink} behaves like the command
@command{ln -s -f}: any existing symlink is removed before creating
the link.  (But an existing regular file or directory is not replaced.)

Here's an example of removing a symlink, e.g., if you decide not to
maintain a @file{foo-latest} link any more:

version: 1.2
directory: foo
rmsymlink: foo-latest.tar.gz
comment: remove a symlink
@end example

And here's an example of archiving a file, e.g., an unintended upload:

version: 1.2
directory: foo
archive: foo-1.1x.tar.gz
comment: archive an old file; it will not be
comment: publicly available any more.
@end example

The @code{archive} directive causes the specified items to become
inaccessible.  This should only be used when it is actively bad for
them to be available, e.g., you uploaded something by mistake.

If all you want to do is reduce how much stuff is in your release
directory, an alternative is to email @email{} and
ask them to move old items to the @file{}
directory; then they will still be available.  In general, however, we
recommend leaving all official releases in the main release directory.

@node FTP Upload Directive File - v1.1
@subsection FTP Upload Directive File - v1.1

The v1.1 protocol for uploads lacked the @code{replace} directive;
instead, file replacements were done automatically and silently
(clearly undesirable).  This is the only difference between v1.2 and

@node FTP Upload Directive File - v1.0
@subsection FTP Upload Directive File - v1.0

Support for v1.0 uploads was discontinued in May 2012; please upgrade

In v1.0, the directive file contained one line, excluding the
clearsigned data GPG that inserts, which specifies the final
destination directory where items (1) and (2) are to be placed.

For example, the @file{foo-1.0.tar.gz.directive.asc} file might contain the
single line:

directory: bar/v1
@end example

This directory line indicates that @file{foo-1.0.tar.gz} and
@file{foo-1.0.tar.gz.sig} are part of package @code{bar}.  If you were to
upload the triplet to @file{/incoming/ftp}, and the system can
positively authenticate the signatures, then the files
@file{foo-1.0.tar.gz} and @file{foo-1.0.tar.gz.sig} will be placed in the
directory @file{gnu/bar/v1} of the @code{} site.

The directive file can be used to create currently non-existent
directory trees, as long as they are under the package directory for
your package (in the example above, that is @code{bar}).

@node Announcements
@section Announcing Releases
@cindex announcements

@cindex @code{info-gnu} mailing list
When you have a new release, please make an announcement.  For
official new releases, including those made just to fix bugs, we
strongly recommend using the (moderated) general GNU announcements
list, @email{}.  Doing so makes it easier for users
and developers to find the latest GNU releases.  On the other hand,
please do not announce test releases on @code{info-gnu} unless it's a
highly unusual situation.

@cindex @url{}
@cindex Savannah, news area
Please also post release announcements in the news section of your
Savannah project site.  Here, it is fine to also write news entries
for test releases and any other newsworthy events.  The news feeds
from all GNU projects at savannah are aggregated at
@url{} (GNU Planet), unless the text of the entry
contains the string @samp{::noplanet::}.  You can also post items
directly, or arrange for feeds from other locations; see information
on the GNU Planet web page.

@cindex announcement mailing list, project-specific
You can maintain your own mailing list (typically
@indicateurl{info-@var{package}}) for announcements as well if you
like.  For your own list, of course you decide as you see fit what
events are worth announcing.  (@xref{Mail}, for setting this up, and
more suggestions on handling mail for your package.)

@cindex contents of announcements
When writing an announcement, please include the following:

@itemize @bullet
A very brief description (a few sentences at most) of the general
purpose of your package.

Your package's web page (normally

Your package's download location (normally
@indicateurl{{package}/}).  It is also
useful to mention the mirror list at
@url{}, and that
@indicateurl{{package/}} will automatically
redirect to a nearby mirror.

The @t{NEWS} (@pxref{NEWS File,,, standards, GNU Coding Standards}) for
the present release.
@end itemize

You may find the @file{announce-gen} script useful for creating
announcements, which is available from the @file{build-aux/} directory
of the @code{gnulib} project at

@node Web Pages
@chapter Web Pages
@cindex web pages

Please write web pages about your package, and install them on
@code{}.  They should follow our usual standards for web
pages (see @url{}).
The overall goals are to support a wide variety of browsers, to focus
on information rather than flashy eye candy, and to keep the site
simple and uniform.

We encourage you to use the standard @code{} template as
the basis for your pages:

Some GNU packages have just simple web pages, but the more information
you provide, the better.  So please write as much as you usefully can,
and put all of it on @code{}.  However, pages that access
databases (including mail archives and bug tracking) are an exception;
set them up on whatever site is convenient for you, and make the pages
on @code{} link to that site.

* Hosting for Web Pages::
* Freedom for Web Pages::
* Manuals on Web Pages::
* CVS Keywords in Web Pages::
@end menu

@node Hosting for Web Pages
@section Hosting for Web Pages
@cindex web pages, hosting for

The best way to maintain the web pages for your project is to register
the project on @code{}.  Then you can edit the pages
using CVS, using the separate ``web repository'' available on
Savannah, which corresponds to
@indicateurl{{package}/}.  You can
keep your source files there too (using any of a variety of version
control systems), but you can use @code{} only for
your web pages if you wish; simply register a ``web-only''

If you don't want to use that method, please talk with
@email{} about other possible methods.  For
instance, you can mail them pages to install, if necessary.  But that
is more work for them, so please use Savannah if you can.

If you use Savannah, you can use a special file named @file{.symlinks}
in order to create symbolic links, which are not supported in CVS.
For details, see

@node Freedom for Web Pages
@section Freedom for Web Pages
@cindex web pages, freedom for

If you use a site other than @code{}, please make sure that
the site runs on free software alone.  (It is ok if the site uses
unreleased custom software, since that is free in a trivial sense:
there's only one user and it has the four freedoms.)  If the web site
for a GNU package runs on non-free software, the public will see this,
and it will have the effect of granting legitimacy to the non-free

If you use multiple sites, they should all follow that criterion.
Please don't link to a site that is about your package, which the
public might perceive as connected with it and reflecting the position
of its developers, unless it follows that criterion.

Historically, web pages for GNU packages did not include GIF images,
because of patent problems (@pxref{Ethical and Philosophical
Consideration}).  Although the GIF patents expired in 2006, using GIF
images is still not recommended, as the PNG and JPEG formats are
generally superior.  See @url{}.

@node Manuals on Web Pages
@section Manuals on Web Pages
@cindex web pages, including manuals on
@cindex formats for documentation, desired

The web pages for the package should include its manuals, in HTML,
DVI, Info, PDF, plain ASCII, and the source Texinfo.  All of these can
be generated automatically from Texinfo using Makeinfo and other
programs.  If the Texinfo itself is generated from some other source
format, include that too.

When there is only one manual, put it in a subdirectory called
@file{manual}; the file @file{manual/index.html} should have a link to
the manual in each of its forms.

If the package has more than one manual, put each one in a
subdirectory of @file{manual}, set up @file{index.html} in each
subdirectory to link to that manual in all its forms, and make
@file{manual/index.html} link to each manual through its subdirectory.

See the section below for details on a script to make the job of
creating all these different formats and index pages easier.

We would like to list all GNU manuals on the page
@url{}, so if yours isn't there, please send
mail to @code{}, asking them to add yours, and they
will do so based on the contents of your @file{manual} directory.

* Invoking
@end menu

@node Invoking
@subsection Invoking @command{}
@cindex generating documentation output
@cindex documentation output, generating

The script @command{} eases the task of generating the
Texinfo documentation output for your web pages
section above.  It has a companion template file, used as the basis
for the HTML index pages.  Both are available from the Texinfo CVS

@end smallformat

There is also a minimalistic template, available from:

@end smallformat

Invoke the script like this, in the directory containing the Texinfo

@smallexample --email @var{yourbuglist} @var{yourmanual} "GNU @var{yourmanual} manual"
@end smallexample

@noindent where @var{yourmanual} is the short name for your package
and @var{yourbuglist} is the email address for bug reports (which
should be @code{bug-@var{package}}).  The script processes
the file @file{@var{yourmanual}.texinfo} (or @file{.texi} or
@file{.txi}).  For example:

cd .../texinfo/doc
# download and gendocs_template --email texinfo "GNU Texinfo manual"
@end smallexample

@command{} creates a subdirectory @file{manual/} containing
the manual generated in all the standard output formats: Info, HTML,
DVI, and so on, as well as the Texinfo source.  You then need to move
all those files, retaining the subdirectories, into the web pages for
your package.

You can specify the option @option{-o @var{outdir}} to override the
name @file{manual}.  Any previous contents of @var{outdir} will be deleted.

The second argument, with the description, is included as part of the
HTML @code{<title>} of the overall @file{manual/index.html} file.  It
should include the name of the package being documented, as shown.
@file{manual/index.html} is created by substitution from the file
@file{gendocs_template}.  (Feel free to modify the generic template
for your own purposes.)

If you have several manuals, you'll need to run this script several
times with different arguments, specifying a different output
directory with @option{-o} each time, and moving all the output to
your web page.  Then write (by hand) an overall index.html with links
to them all.  For example:

cd .../texinfo/doc --email -o texinfo texinfo "GNU Texinfo manual" --email -o info info "GNU Info manual" --email -o info-stnd info-stnd "GNU info-stnd manual"
@end smallexample

By default, the script uses @command{makeinfo} for generating HTML
output.  If you prefer to use @command{texi2html}, use the
@option{--texi2html} command line option, e.g.:

gendocs --texi2html -o texinfo texinfo "GNU Texinfo manual"
@end smallexample

The template files will automatically produce entries for additional
HTML output generated by @command{texi2html} (i.e., split by sections
and chapters).

You can set the environment variables @env{MAKEINFO}, @env{TEXI2DVI},
etc., to control the programs that get executed, and
@env{GENDOCS_TEMPLATE_DIR} to control where the
@file{gendocs_template} file is found.

As usual, run @samp{ --help} for a description of all the
options, environment variables, and more information.

Please email bug reports, enhancement requests, or other
correspondence about @command{gendocs} to @email{}.

@node CVS Keywords in Web Pages
@section CVS Keywords in Web Pages
@cindex CVS keywords in web pages
@cindex RCS keywords in web pages
@cindex $ keywords in web pages
@cindex web pages, and CVS keywords

Since @code{} works through CVS, CVS keywords in your
manual, such as @code{@w{$}Log$}, need special treatment (even if you
don't happen to maintain your manual in CVS).

If these keywords end up in the generated output as literal strings,
they will be expanded.  The most robust way to handle this is to turn
off keyword expansion for such generated files.  For existing files,
this is done with:

cvs admin -ko @var{file1} @var{file2} ...
@end example

For new files:

cvs add -ko @var{file1} @var{file2} ...
@end example

@c The CVS manual is now built with numeric references and no nonsplit
@c form, so it's not worth trying to give a direct link.
See the ``Keyword Substitution'' section in the CVS manual, available
at @url{}.

In Texinfo source, the recommended way to literally specify a
``dollar'' keyword is:

@end example

The @code{@@w} prevents keyword expansion in the Texinfo source
itself.  Also, @code{makeinfo} notices the @code{@@w} and generates
output avoiding the literal keyword string.

@node Ethical and Philosophical Consideration
@chapter Ethical and Philosophical Consideration
@cindex ethics
@cindex philosophy

The GNU project takes a strong stand for software freedom.  Many
times, this means you'll need to avoid certain technologies when their
use would conflict with our long-term goals.

Software patents threaten the advancement of free software and freedom
to program.  There are so many software patents in the US that any
large program probably implements hundreds of patented techniques,
unknown to the program's developers.  It would be futile and
self-defeating to try to find and avoid all these patents.  But there
are some patents which we know are likely to be used to threaten free
software, so we make an effort to avoid the patented techniques.  If
you are concerned about the danger of a patent and would like advice,
write to @email{}, and we will try to help you get
advice from a lawyer.

Sometimes the GNU project takes a strong stand against a particular
patented technology in order to encourage society to reject it.

For example, the MP3 audio format is covered by a software patent in
the USA and some other countries.  A patent holder has threatened
lawsuits against the developers of free programs (these are not GNU
programs) to produce and play MP3, and some GNU/Linux distributors are
afraid to include them.  Development of the programs continues, but we
campaign for the rejection of MP3 format in favor of Ogg Vorbis format.

A GNU package should not recommend use of any non-free program, nor
should it require a non-free program (such as a non-free compiler or
IDE) to build.  Thus, a GNU package cannot be written in a programming
language that does not have a free software implementation.  Now that
GNU/Linux systems are widely available, all GNU packages should
provide full functionality on a 100% free GNU/Linux system, and should
not require any non-free software to build or function.
The GNU Coding Standards say a lot more about this issue.

A GNU package should not refer the user to any non-free documentation
for free software.  The need for free documentation to come with free
software is now a major focus of the GNU project; to show that we are
serious about the need for free documentation, we must not contradict
our position by recommending use of documentation that isn't free.

Please don't host discussions about your package in a service that
requires nonfree software.  For instance, Google+ ``communities''
require running a nonfree Javascript program to post a message, so
they can't be used in the Free World.  To host discussions there would
be excluding people who live by free software principles.

Of course, you can't order people not to use such services to talk
with each other.  What you can do is not legitimize them, and use your
influence to lead people away from them.  For instance, where you say
where to have discussions related to the program, don't list such a

Finally, new issues concerning the ethics of software freedom come up
frequently.  We ask that GNU maintainers, at least on matters that
pertain specifically to their package, stand with the rest of the GNU
project when such issues come up.

@node Terminology
@chapter Terminology Issues
@cindex terminology

This chapter explains a couple of issues of terminology which are
important for correcting two widespread and important misunderstandings
about GNU.

* Free Software and Open Source::
* GNU and Linux::
@end menu

@node Free Software and Open Source
@section Free Software and Open Source
@cindex free software movement
@cindex open source
@cindex movement, free software
@cindex development method, open source

The terms ``free software'' and ``open source'', while describing
almost the same category of software, stand for views based on
fundamentally different values.  The free software movement is
idealistic, and raises issues of freedom, ethics, principle and what
makes for a good society.  The term open source, initiated in 1998, is
associated with a philosophy which studiously avoids such questions.
For a detailed explanation, see

The GNU Project is aligned with the free software movement.  This
doesn't mean that all GNU contributors and maintainers have to agree;
your views on these issues are up to you, and you're entitled to express
them when speaking for yourself.

However, due to the much greater publicity that the term ``open source''
receives, the GNU Project needs to overcome a widespread
mistaken impression that GNU is @emph{and always was} an ``open
source'' activity.  For this reason, please use the term ``free
software'', not ``open source'', in GNU software releases, GNU
documentation, and announcements and articles that you publish in your
role as the maintainer of a GNU package.  A reference to the URL given
above, to explain the difference, is a useful thing to include as

@node GNU and Linux
@section GNU and Linux
@cindex Linux
@cindex GNU/Linux

The GNU Project was formed to develop a free Unix-like operating system,
GNU.  The existence of this system is our major accomplishment.
However, the widely used version of the GNU system, in which Linux is
used as the kernel, is often called simply ``Linux''.  As a result, most
users don't know about the GNU Project's major accomplishment---or more
precisely, they know about it, but don't realize it is the GNU Project's
accomplishment and reason for existence.  Even people who believe they
know the real history often believe that the goal of GNU was to develop
``tools'' or ``utilities''.

To correct this confusion, we have made a years-long effort to
distinguish between Linux, the kernel that Linus Torvalds wrote, and
GNU/Linux, the operating system that is the combination of GNU and
Linux.  The resulting increased awareness of what the GNU Project has
already done helps every activity of the GNU Project recruit more
support and contributors.

Please make this distinction consistently in GNU software releases, GNU
documentation, and announcements and articles that you publish in your
role as the maintainer of a GNU package.  If you want to explain the
terminology and its reasons, you can refer to the URL

To make it clear that Linux is a kernel, not an operating system,
please take care to avoid using the term ``Linux system'' in those
materials.  If you want to have occasion to make a statement about
systems in which the kernel is Linux, write ``systems in which the
kernel is Linux'' or ``systems with Linux as the kernel.''  That
explicitly contrasts the system and the kernel, and will help readers
understand the difference between the two.  Please avoid simplified
forms such as ``Linux-based systems'' because those fail to highlight
the difference between the kernel and the system, and could encourage
readers to overlook the distinction.

To contrast the GNU system properly with respect to GNU/Linux, you can
call it ``GNU/Hurd'' or ``the GNU/Hurd system''.  However, when that
contrast is not specifically the focus, please call it just ``GNU'' or
``the GNU system''.

When referring to the collection of servers that is the higher level
of the GNU kernel, please call it ``the Hurd'' or ``the GNU Hurd''.
Note that this uses a space, not a slash.

@node Interviews and Speeches
@chapter Interviews and Speeches

Interviews and speeches about your package are an important channel
for informing the public about the GNU system and the ideas of the
free software movement.  Please avoid saying ``open source'' and avoid
calling the GNU system ``Linux'', just as you would in the package
itself (@pxref{Terminology}).  Likewise, avoid promoting nonfree
programs (@pxref{References,,, standards, GNU Coding
Standards}) as you would in the package itself.

Many GNU users have erroneous ideas about GNU.  Outside of our
community, most people think it is Linux.  Please use your opportunity
to set them straight.  Start the presentation with the answers to
these basic questions:

@itemize @bullet
What GNU is (an operating system developed to be Unix-like and totally
free software).  It is good to mention @url{}.

What free software is (the users control it, so it doesn't control
them).  It is good to state the four freedoms and/or refer to

What GNU/Linux is (Linux filled the last gap in GNU).  It is useful to
refer to @url{}.

What the GNU Project is (the project to develop GNU).

How your package fits in (it's part of GNU, and the work is part of
the GNU Project).
@end itemize

If you feel a social pressure not to say these things, you may be
coming in contact with some who would prefer that these things not be
said.  That's precisely when we need your support most.

Please don't include advertisements or plugs for any company, product
or service.  Even if the product would meet the standards for the FSF
to endorse it, an ad for it is out of place in a presentation about a
GNU package.  Likewise, please don't include company slogans.  Mention
a company only when called for by the subject matter.

A few GNU packages are actually business activities of a particular
company.  In that case, it is ok to say so at the start.  Otherwise,
please show that this is a project of the GNU Project, and avoid
suggesting it is any company's project.

If you are paid by a company to work on the GNU package, it is
appropriate to thank the company in a discreet way, but please don't
go beyond that.

Before you do a speech or interview, please contact the GNU Project
leadership.  We can give you advice on how to deal with various

When your interviews and speech recordings or transcript are posted,
please tell us about them.  Then we can publicize them.

Please post them in formats that are friendly to free software: not in
Doc or Docx format, not with Flash, not with QuickTime, not with MP3,
MPEG2 or MPEG4.  Plain text, HTML and PDF are good.

@node Hosting
@chapter Hosting
@cindex CVS repository
@cindex repository
@cindex source repository
@cindex version control system
@cindex FTP site
@cindex release site
@cindex hosting

We recommend using @code{} for the source code
repository for your package, but that's not required.  @xref{Old
Versions}, for more information about Savannah.

We strongly urge you to use @code{} as the standard
distribution site for releases.  Doing so makes it easier for
developers and users to find the latest GNU releases.  However, it is
ok to use another server if you wish, provided it allows access from
the general public without limitation (for instance, without excluding
any country).

If you use a company's machine to hold the repository for your
program, or as its release distribution site, please put this
statement in a prominent place on the site, so as to prevent people
from getting the wrong idea about the relationship between the package
and the company:

The programs <list of them> hosted here are free software packages
of the GNU Project, not products of <company name>.  We call them
"free software" because you are free to copy and redistribute them,
following the rules stated in the license of each package.  For more
information, see

If you are looking for service or support for GNU software, see for suggestions of where to ask.

If you would like to contribute to the development of one of these
packages, contact the package maintainer or the bug-reporting address
of the package (which should be listed in the package itself), or look
on for more information on how to contribute.
@end smallexample

@node Donations
@chapter Donations
@cindex Donations, for packages
@cindex Money, donated to packages

As a maintainer, you might want to accept donations for your work,
especially if you pay for any of your own hosting/development
infrastructure.  Following is some text you can adapt to your own
situation, and use on your package's web site, @file{README}, or
in wherever way you find it useful:

We appreciate contributions of any size -- donations enable us to spend
more time working on the project, and help cover our infrastructure

If you'd like to make a small donation, please visit @var{url1} and do
it through @var{payment-service}.  Since our project isn't a
tax-exempt organization, we can't offer you a tax deduction, but for
all donations over @var{amount1}, we'd be happy to recognize your
contribution on @var{url2}.

We are also happy to consider making particular improvements or
changes, or giving specific technical assistance, in return for a
substantial donation over @var{amount2}.  If you would like to discuss
this possibility, write to us at @var{address}.

Another possibility is to pay a software maintenance fee.  Again,
write to us about this at @var{address} to discuss how much you want
to pay and how much maintenance we can offer in return.  If you pay
more than @var{amount1}, we can give you a document for your records.

Thanks for your support!
@end smallexample

We don't recommend any specific payment service.  However, GNU
developers should not use a service that requires them to sign a
proprietary software license, such as Google's payment service.

The FSF can collect donations for a limited number of projects; if you
want to propose that for your project, write to
@email{}.  The FSF is required to supervise the
spending of these funds.

Of course, it is also good to encourage people to join the FSF
(@url{}) or make a general donation, either instead
of or as well as package-specific donations.

@node Free Software Directory
@chapter Free Software Directory
@cindex Free Software Directory
@cindex Directory, Free Software

The Free Software Directory aims to be a complete list of free
software packages, within certain criteria.  Every GNU package should
be listed there, so please see
@url{} for
information on how to write an entry for your package.  Contact
@email{} with any questions or suggestions for
the Free Software Directory.

@node Using the Proofreaders List
@chapter Using the Proofreaders List
@cindex proofreading

If you want help finding errors in documentation,
or help improving the quality of writing,
or if you are not a native speaker of English
and want help producing good English documentation,
you can use the GNU proofreaders mailing list:

But be careful when you use the list,
because there are over 200 people on it.
If you simply ask everyone on the list to read your work,
there will probably be tremendous duplication of effort
by the proofreaders,
and you will probably get the same errors reported 100 times.
This must be avoided.

Also, the people on the list do not want to get
a large amount of mail from it.
So do not ever ask people on the list to send mail to the list!

Here are a few methods that seem reasonable to use:

@itemize @bullet
For something small, mail it to the list,
and ask people to pick a random number from 1 to 20,
and read it if the number comes out as 10.
This way, assuming 50% response, some 5 people will read the piece.

For a larger work, divide your work into around 20 equal-sized parts,
tell people where to get it,
and ask each person to pick randomly which part to read.

Be sure to specify the random choice procedure;
otherwise people will probably use a mental procedure
that is not really random,
such as ``pick a part near the middle'',
and you will not get even coverage.

You can either divide up the work physically, into 20 separate files,
or describe a virtual division, such as by sections
(if your work has approximately 20 sections).
If you do the latter, be sure to be precise about it---for example,
do you want the material before the first section heading
to count as a section, or not?

For a job needing special skills, send an explanation of it,
and ask people to send you mail if they volunteer for the job.
When you get enough volunteers, send another message to the list saying
``I have enough volunteers, no more please.''
@end itemize

@node GNU Free Documentation License
@appendix GNU Free Documentation License

@cindex FDL, GNU Free Documentation License
@include fdl.texi

@node Index
@unnumbered Index
@printindex cp


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compile-command: "make -C work.m"