Listing the licenses used on an installed system?

Stéphane Graber stgraber at
Fri Jun 14 14:32:13 UTC 2013

On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 04:24:44PM +0200, Sebastien Bacher wrote:
> Hey,
> I'm looking at the "about this phone" panel [1] for the touch image,
> one of the feature included is a "Software licenses" screen which:
> "should navigate to a single “Software Licenses” screen that
> consists of a single text view listing all the licenses for included
> software (since there is no other way to access that information). "
> Does anyone know if we already have tools doing that, or what would
> be the best way to get those informations? From a quick discussions
> on IRC yesterday the idea that came out was basically to read/dump
> /usr/share/doc/*/copyright ... does that seems a reasonable
> approach? Checking on an android device, their equivalent panel is
> slow and dumping tons of informations as well...
> Cheers,
> Sebastien Bacher
> [1]


Short of having every package that's part of the Touch image to use machine
parsable changelog files, I think dumping /usr/share/doc/*/copyright is your
best bet.
As you say, it won't be pretty or really readable, but that doesn't appear to
be much of a concern on most if not all current devices.

One thing you probably want to do though is generate a list of unique
real-paths (non-symlinks) and use that as the list of copyright files to
display. In theory that should avoid any duplication for source packages
producing multiple binaries.

Stéphane Graber
Ubuntu developer
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