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Re: more evil firmwares found

[This is OT for -devel as it involves the interpretation and
understanding of the GPL instead of anything concrete related to
Debian's development process. MFT: set to -legal, please send
followups there or to myself.]

On Fri, 23 Apr 2004, Claus Färber wrote:
> Don Armstrong <don@donarmstrong.com> schrieb/wrote:
> > Secondly, if the original assembly contains any comments at all, then
> > the disassembled binary is no longer the prefered form for
> > modification.
> How do we know there were comments?

The issue isn't whether or not "we know there were comments." The
issue is whether or not there _are_ comments. The reason why it's an
issue is because the comments, if they exist, would be found in

There's nothing magical here. You sue, you do discovery, you retrieve
documents. If they refuse to hand them over, you get a court order
compelling them to turn them over.

If we aren't distributing the prefered form for modification, we're in
violation of the GPL.[1]

> > You need to supply the prefered form for modification, which is
> > (generally) the exact same form that you used to create the work
> > in the first place.
> No, there may be different forms of the work that are equally suited
> for modification.

That's fine. There's nothing wrong with having multiple forms which
are "equally suited for modification."

The exact same form used to create the work in the first place is the
least controversial of these forms, and the one you better include if
you want to be non-controversially compatible with the GPL.

Anything else, and you're asking for trouble, especially if the
transformation that you perform on the "prefered form for
modification" looses information.

> Take images, for example. Is the preferred format PNG, TIFF, XCF, or
> even PSD?

It (obviously) depends on the image and the process used to create the
image. [I've given quite a bit of thought to this particular issue,
and I still haven't been able to come up with a better heuristic for
the "prefered form for modification" than the one I gave earlier.
You're welcome to try, of course.]

Don Armstrong

1: Now, you may argue that Debian shouldn't care if it's in violataion
of the GPL in this aspect, and some people might agree with you... but
at least be cognizant of the violation.
Guns Don't Kill People.
*I* Kill People.


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