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Re: more evil firmwares found

On Sun, Apr 25, 2004 at 01:08:16AM -0800, D. Starner wrote:
> > Is an application not distributable by Debian if it does not include the 
> > source XML of a manual, or the source EPS of an image file, or the 
> > source waveform of a mp3, etc etc, ad absurdum?  Where does the cutoff 
> > of practicality between software and supporting materials end? 
> And as people keep pointing out, we need the source for most of these for 
> the same reasons we need the source for software.

I agree.  However, DFSG#2 does not support (or contradict) your argument.

> What happens if you want to make any change to that MP3? You need to have 
> the original WAV file, especially if you're going to need to recompress it.

Nitpick: Only if you need lossless recompression.  The output is still
valid, it's just not as good of quality as if you had the source.

> No one is debating over the fine edges here; nobody is complaining about 
> files that music and graphic files that go through several forms and get 
> changes made in each. But we need the source in practice for non-programs 
> as much as programs. 

Then I suggest modifying DFSG to account for that practical need.
Without such a modification, I still don't think that argument is a
valid basis for removal of useful components of software that are not
program material.

> Have you ever read the story of Mel, in the Jargon file? Even in the days 
> of drum memory, only "Real Programmers" wrote code in machine code. To just 
> assume that they wrote these large binary blobs in machine code instead of 
> assembly is to make an implausible assumption.  

Machine code versus an assembler listing is a trivial distinction.  We
could make up assembler mnemonics and a program to assemble a "source"
into the current binary blobs that we have.

Ryan Underwood, <nemesis@icequake.net>

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