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Re: Non-recompilable binaries in source and binary packages (Adobe Flash strikes again)

I would like to narrow the discussion to my specific problem, as I have
to make a decision to solve it.

The dokuwiki upstream tarball contains a Flash applet, in both source
and binary form. Only a proprietary tool can generate the binary from
the source. This applet is only a minor component, that can be stripped
without impacting the overall functionnality of the software.

Rather than keeping that file, moving dokuwiki to contrib, I would
rather strip it, document that, and explain how to install it manually
if needed. My question is: should I strip it from the original tarball,
repacking it, or only from the binary package? Technically, I prefer the
latter solution.

I think that this solution, stripping it only from the binary package,
is acceptable according to the Debian Policy. Here are the arguments I
identified agains that:
1. Policy §2.2.1 requires every package in main to compy with the DFSG,
   and DFSG §3 requires to allow the recipient to modify and rebuild.
2. Policy §2.2.1 forbids any package in main to require a package
   outside of main for compilation or execution.
Let me detail these arguments, and why I think they do not apply.

1. DFSG §3 is written as follows:
> The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow
> them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the
> original software.
Well, first, this point does not require a free toolchain, as it does
not include a proposition such as: “by using only software that follow
these Guidelines”. Plus, it only speaks of the license, not about facts
outside of the licence that could forbid the compilation or the
execution, like: the user does not have a computer, does not have the
compiler, has an incompatible processor, etc. And here, the licence of
that Flash applet does allow modifications.

2. Policy §2.2.1 is about packages. A source package containing some
non-compilable-with-software-in-main code, but which rules do not make
use of that code, neither by compiling it, nor by copying it to the
binary package (that is, rules that /strip/ that code) needs, no package
outside of main for compilation or execution.

As I said, I am not very experienced with the DFSG and the Policy, so I
may be wrong, and I may miss some arguments. I told that I would not
risk myself to try and interpret these fundamental texts: in fact, I did
so, and I think it may be a good exercice. I just have a problem to
solve, and I wish to avoid an original tarball repacking if I can.

Tanguy Ortolo

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