[Bug 507786] Generalize about.html into a technology agnostic NOTICES file (leveraging SPDX)
|Reported||Nov 18, 2016 14:15 EDT|
|Modified||May 13, 2020 03:50 EDT|
My understanding is that "about" files are intended to provide licensing information (and other important related information) at the component level. The idea being that license information must be available to consumers should these components be distributed individually.
In OSGi terms, individual bundles are the component as it is possible, so it makes sense to include an "about" file in the bundle. For Eclipse Platform plug-ins, having the about file be in HTML format makes sense because this makes it really easy to display the "Legal Info" from the Installation Details dialog box.
I do not believe, however, that the specific file name (about.html) or format is significant outside of the scope of Eclipse Platform plug-ins. Indeed, we have already seen exceptions (Xtext uses different names for the files to avoid a technical limitation when deployed on Android).
It should be enough that the information be available in the most appropriate format. For Maven-based deployments, the information can be included in the pom.xml file . Including license information in the POM is likely better than an about.html because services like Maven Central know how to use this information.
Other technologies may have more appropriate means of providing the information. At very least, it should be acceptable for the information to be provided in plain text.
So... I believe that the important bit is that the information be provided. How it is provided is a matter of convention or appropriateness for the specific technology. Does this make sense?
Assuming that I've not missed anything important, the About File Templates content  is still useful, but really only for Eclipse Platform plug-ins. We'll need to provide advice for the general case and perhaps include this existing content along with examples for other sorts of technology as examples.