Gitless offers a binary release as well as the source code. Since I've had difficulty with installing from source (one of the dependencies won't build), I downloaded said binary and copied it to /usr/local/bin. However, I'm uncertain - where should I put the LICENSE.md and README.md included with it?

Yes, I know that from a practical point of view nobody's going to check for the presence of a license on open-source software on my personal computer, and the README is redundant in this case since it's mostly install instructions and it's all on the Github. Practicality isn't the point here; I want to do this properly. Where does the license (and any documentation that isn't compiled in as a --help) go for an installed binary? Usually I either install via a package manager or from source, and any manpages and such are thus presumably handled as the developer intended without my input, so I haven't actually run into this before.

  • As a recipient, you don't have any legal obligation to keep a copy of the license (and you certainly don't have an obligation to keep the README). Are you concerned about what to do when when redistributing the binary? (You will need to distribute the whole source, too, since it's GPL licensed.) Or are you worried about what happens if the authors of Gitless suddenly try to pretend that they never licensed it under the GPL? (In that case, you need historical evidence to prove that they released it under the GPL; the particulars of which folder has the GPL text will matter very little.)
    – apsillers
    Nov 26, 2016 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


This isn't really relevant for Open Source Stack Exchange, but as far as the installation of documentation on a Unix-style system goes, I'd simply adapt the FHS location for documentation to /usr/local: install the documentation in /usr/local/share/doc/gitless.

As apsillers says, you (as a user) don't need to keep a copy of the license along with the binary. It is helpful to keep a copy of the corresponding source archive for future reference though, as a general rule (not particularly for licensing reasons) — you'll need it if you ever want to give a copy to someone, and more importantly, it might come in handy a few years in the future (nothing on the Internet is permanent).

  • Thank you additionally for the documentation on the standard file system hierarchy.
    – Vivian
    Nov 26, 2016 at 15:21

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