Metadata check [WAS Re: How would you feel...]

Robert P. Goldman rpgoldman at
Wed May 27 18:54:00 UTC 2015

Faré wrote:
>> OTOH, it's probably A Bad Thing if you depend on a system for something
>> you are doing, and don't know what license it uses.
> Well, we haven't codified any format for :license. I suppose we could adopt
> the nomenclature used by Debian. Except what in Lisp circles goes by
> the name "MIT"
> (as notably used by ASDF itself) in Debian-speak is called "Expat".
> Also, we don't have a story for multi-licensed code either.
> For instance, I have code under LLGPL or bugroff, or BSD or bugroff.

I didn't mean that we needed a codified format.  I just meant that if
you are using a system, and the humans involved don't know if your usage
is legal (e.g., are you using pure GPL in a commercial application? are
you delivering source for libraries when you deliver your code? etc.),
that's a Bad Thing.

Given that :LICENSE is currently arbitrary string valued, we can just
make a string that indicates multiple possible licenses.

We could certainly add some standard values (keywords?) for common
licenses, and allow people to specify a list of such values (and an
optional string), but I'm not sure what we would gain by this.

I don't yet see a use case for machine-introspection on the :license,
but I'm open to suggestions.

>> But that's why I created a special class of CONDITION for this case --
>> so you can muffle it if you don't care.  It would be nice if there was
>> some way to detect the distinction between internal systems (fix them!)
>> and external systems (muffle).
> At ITA, we started with muffling the external systems, but quickly
> enough decided to fix them instead; code quality matters for libraries
> we depend on, too. But we did have a list of style-warnings to muffle
> and some of them were based on dependencies indeed.

For now a programmer could match the name of the system in my
MISSING-METADATA condition, and use that to make his or her decision
about muffling.
>> I'll push my topic branch today.  It needs a test script, and I'd like
>> to make it skip signaling on "slashy" subordinate systems, but I'd love
>> comments in the meantime.

I pushed this as the QL-metadata-warning topic branch.


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