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I'm working on a free software GUI application and we are considering what non-essential files to include in the end-user package

Here are my thoughts of possible files we may want to include:

  • License file,
  • Readme
  • List of contributors

Are there any other non-essential (non-essential for starting the software) files that should be included?

Can any of the above be excluded if the same information is available from inside the GUI?

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Besides the files needed to run the software, your distribution to end-users must include any files that are required to be included according to the licenses of the code that makes up your software.
This typically comes down to license and notice files, and those can be left out if the application itself can reproduce the same content.

Depending on who your end-users are, it can be appreciated by them if you include a readme file describing the software and/or a changelog file describing the (major) changes between the releases.

Apart from this, it is entirely up to you and would also depend largely on your end-user audience. Just include whatever files you think will be appreciated by your end-users.

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