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Re: wanting to package wpoison

Ronald F. Guilmette wrote:

> Anyway, for whatever it's worth, I think your ``source as well as
> compiled'' condition is your DFSG is downright silly.
> I mean what's the practical difference between (say) distributing a
> compiled binary of program `X' as opposed to (say) distributing a
> shar file called X which, when invoked, stashes the source code for 
> (say) X.c in a temp file, invokes the C compiler on it, and then
> copies the resulting binary back over the original executable shar
> file `X'?

One rather obvious difference is that distributing auto-building source
packages requires the target machine to have all the necessary
development material (header files, etc.) for everything that the
application requires. Binary distribution only requires that you have
all the necessary shared libraries installed; you needn't even have a
working compiler (for whatever language the program is written in -- not
all programs are in C, and not all versions of gcc will compile all C
programs correctly).

Binary distribution is also a hell of a lot faster than compiling from
source if the application is large. Debian wants to be as friendly as
possible towards low-end systems as well as high-end ones.

> If you need a ``compiled'' binary, then create one, from the source
> on the distribution media, on the fly, as the user is first installing
> (or upgrading) the whole Debian system.  Make compilation part of the
> system install process.  You can do that, can't you?
> But just make sure that the distribution media contains the real and
> honest-to-goodness source code... the stuff that a human being could
> maintain and/or adapt, if necessary.
> I think that this way of doing things is maximally consistant with
> RMS's well known views regarding the free accessability of source
> code.  Wouldn't you agree?

No. RMS's views are quite succinctly summed up in the GPL, which
explicitly allows binary distribution as long as source code is
available. Whatever gave you the impression that he was opposed to
binary distribution?

Now, as you note, since Wpoison is Perl, the source/binary issue is not
really relevant; I have yet to see a Debian-packaged Perl module that
was provided in "compiled" form.


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