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Re: Social Contract GR's effect on sarge

On Mon, Apr 26, 2004 at 05:26:49PM -0300, Humberto Massa wrote:
> > I would tend to think that there's no need to define that

> > further--"program" seems to obviously include /bin/ls and firmware
> > blobs, and exclude documentation, fonts[1] and images--but the RM is
> > apparently claiming that the old SC didn't apply to firmware, as if
> > firmware isn't software (a very strange claim, IMO).

> > Of course, this wouldn't change the need to remove non-free firmware
> > or GFDL'd documentation.

> > [1] Oops. Hinted fonts have programs in them. I'm not even sure
> > where to start on that.

> There is more to it...

> PostScript documents are programs. So are PDF documents. Some PostScript 
> programs are their source file; others are generated from other formats. 
> All KDE Crystal icons are PNG generated from SVG; some of those SVGs are 
> generated from other vectorial formats. Ah, and SVGs are programs, in a 
> way, too. The problem IMHO is not what is the format of software (and I 
> mean software in the widest definition: that "thing" that is not 
> hardware and is not wetware). The problem, IMHO, is  defining what is 
> "source code".

Say I have a program which, given sufficient processor time, will
generate digits of pi out to one million places.

Am I allowed to distribute the output of this program in main without
also including the program which generated it?  Even if my algorithm for
generating those digits was stupid and inefficient, and no users would
actually want to run it (and it *definitely* wouldn't be allowed to run
lose on Debian's autobuilders)?

A PNG generated from an SVG isn't a compiled form of the program, it's
the *output* of running the program on an appropriate interpreter.  This
is not at all analogous to compiling a program; compiling a program is a
process of preparing the program for execution, but rendering a PNG
gives you only static output -- not something that's interesting to
refer to as a program, and frequently not even something that's as
useful to a computer (let alone a human) as the SVG.  But it's also a
lot faster to work with a prerendered PNG if that meets your needs.

This is a gray area, and not one I think it's necessarily to formally

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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