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Re: Package with non-free build-depends

On Sat, 4 Jan 2003, Ian Jackson wrote:

> Colin Walters writes ("Re: Package with non-free build-depends"):
> > 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.
> It seems to me obvious that a source package should contain source
> code.
> The question then is just about the definition of `source code'.  And
> the GPL is the only document we have that has a sensible definition -
> namely, the preferred form for modification.  That is what source code
> is.

So that stuff released by the author, labled "source code", is, by
definition, the author's "preferred form for modification", making no
destinction as to the freeness of the author's editor for that source.

While the GFDL is more specific about source, things are not alltogether
more clear ;-)

Example: My book used to be produced in PageMaker. The GFDL doesn't
recognise .PM5 files as "adequate" source. Currently that book is sourced
in Latex, and can therefore be released under the GFDL. The fact that
these source files are created using Free editors is not clearly
recognised by this license, although "auto code generators" are called out
as inadequate.

It still isn't clear to me must how far this goes. For instance, do all
quake wad files automatically become free once there is a completely free
wad editor? (I don't think so) Or is the editor tainted when it touches a
non-free licensed wad? (While I don't think so, the possibility of "theft"
of the proprietary "intelectual property" is quite clear.)

On another note (no pun intended ;-) the Knoppix disk contains music that
is released under what the DFSG would consider a completely free license.
The source under that license is a WAVE file (Actually an open digital
format, but it is translatable to the proper format for music CD
recording, which is 1440 WAVE). Such files are only modifiable with
certain tools (which I'm quite sure are available, even though I've never
looked for them, not having the need). They fall outside of our normal
idea of "human readable ascii text, parsable by some execution of a
compiler or interpreter." Yet it would be unnecessarily inconvenient if
the license could not be accepted because of the format of the source

The question is: Just how far outside that normal idea are we willing to
go before the results are no longer source code?

Waiting is,

_-_-_-_-_-   Author of "Dwarf's Guide to Debian GNU/Linux"  _-_-_-_-_-_-
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