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Re: Package with non-free build-depends

On Mon, 2002-12-02 at 06:27, Josip Rodin wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 02, 2002 at 01:09:42AM -0500, Colin Walters wrote:
> > > Or else include a "precompiled" version of the docs into your diff
> > > file.
> > 
> > Hm, I don't think I like this.  The gif images aren't the preferred form
> > of modification.  Would we accept it if someone had a program written in
> > a language which only had a non-free compiler, then uploaded source
> > packages to main which contained object files, and just set
> > Architecture: i386 ?  I don't think so.
> That's the wrong analogy, because images are not programs, they are data.
> If I wrote this email in a non-free editor, would you consider the data in
> the email non-free just because of that?

Er...any editor (and there are plenty of free ones in main) can edit the
data in your email, and if you put it under a free license, then I'd be
perfectly happy.  The "source" is the data itself.

In contrast, the "source" for the gifs is not the same as the gifs, and
they can only be currently produced by a non-free program.  I think the
analogy is clear:

.gif <-> object code
docs <-> source code
dot <-> gcc

It seems to me that if we allow this precedent to be set, it's just a
little bit farther to allowing object files in source packages.  Maybe
what we need to do is have a rule that Debian source packages must be in
the "preferred form" of modification.

I think that if we had such a rule, it would be a good thing.  One thing
I have seen some people do (and I've done in the past), is modify a
package's Makefile.am to say add a file, run automake to get the
Makefile.in, and then just include the Makefile.in patch in their Debian
diff.  The reason I didn't include the Makefile.am modifications in the
diff was to prevent automake from being rerun during the build (due to
file timestamp issues).  But the patch against the Makefile.in isn't the
"preferred form" of modification; the one against the Makefile.am is,
but it's not included in the source package I uploaded to Debian.  So if
someone else later needs to do something further with my modifications,
they're kind of screwed.  Since then I've been including both the
Makefile.in and Makefile.am patches in the Debian diff, and I've taken
other steps to ensure automake wasn't rerun at build time.

Now, I'm not sure where we would list such a rule about source packages
and preferred modification form; it doesn't really seem to belong in the
Social Contract or the DFSG.  It mostly just seems like "common sense";
but it's easy to violate it in little ways, and those set precedents for
bigger ways.

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