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Re: Free non-software stuff and what does it mean. [was Re: General Resolution: Force AMD64 into Sarge]

On Fri, Jul 23, 2004 at 11:07:24PM -0500, Adam Majer wrote:
> >>1. You don't need a .wav "source" for an .ogg "binary"
> >>2. You don't need upstream pic "source" for the {png, jpeg, etc.} "binary"
> >>3. You don't need some native font format if we have the "binaries"

My opinion is that "source" is relevant to many fonts, sounds, and images.
I have many images and sounds which are in lossy formats, and in many
cases it's mattered: I've asked artists for the source PSDs to a PNG,
and for the source WAV to an OGG (and I expect to have to ask for the
source to a WAV at some point, eg. FruityLoops data).

I'm not convinced that fighting this battle is something that would
improve Debian, though.  The line does have to be drawn somewhere,

I don't want to play word games.  I believe that the word "source" is
entirely appropriate to all of the above (it's the word I used in these
requests: "could you upload the source PSD for x/y/z to the server?").
I believe the word "software" is appropriate, as well.  I also don't
believe the use of the word "program" in the DFSG should be used as an
escape route.  (That would mean that "free redistribution" doesn't apply
to anything but programs, and that's starting the whole "what is software?"
megathread all over again, with s/software/program/.)

That is, on principle I agree with Andrew, but in practice I'm leaning
to agree with you (but I'm not personally convinced strongly either way).
In practice, Debian has never fought the source-code battle for images,
fonts, sounds, movie clips, etc., and it's not clear that it's in its
best interests to begin doing so.

However, in practice, GR 2004-003 (deferred) is clear in saying that
everything in Debian must follow the DFSG; the only way I can see around
the implication that all of Debian must have source is playing word
games with the word "program"; we should be able to do better than that.

In short, I strongly agree with the Project's collective opinion[1] that
all data--images, sounds, fonts--must be under a Free license.  I'm not
so convinced of requiring source for those, however.

[1] as expressed in 2004-003

> I'm cc'ing -legal because I need to know who is right on this. Are we
> going to start harassing upstream over "sources" to jpegs and oggs? Or
> data, since it is inherently binary and thus non-readable by a human in
> raw form, source in itself? That is, if,
> 1. data format is known, and
> 2. data is under a free license according to DFSG
> then such data is free according to DFSG.

ELF is a known data format, but it's very rarely source; a typical ELF
will not pass the DFSG without the real-world source code equivalent.  I
hope we're all agreed on that, at least.

Glenn Maynard

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