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Minified files and source code requirement


On Sun, 23 Oct 2011, Paul Wise wrote:
> One of the other problems with embedded JavaScript libraries is that
> often only the pre-compiled/obfuscated/minified version is
> distributed, which would be a violation of DFSG item 2.

I did not reply on this at first but since Jakub filed #646729 using
a similar reasoning, I would like to discuss this here.

I don't agree that minified files are a violation of DFSG #2. If the
library is under the GPL then it would be a problem because it's not the
preferred form of modification.

But with more liberal licenses, we should certainly accept that the
minified files are their own sources much like we accept any other blob of
data under a free license. For instance we know that almost none of the
firmwares are hand-crafted yet I think we have many firmware under
DFSG-free licenses (and we adequately pointed out that GPL firmwares were
not ok).

(Furthermore there are tools which can reindent such minified files, while
this doesn't restore variable names and the like, it really helps if one
wants to analyze this code.)

Raphaël Hertzog ◈ Debian Developer

Pre-order a copy of the Debian Administrator's Handbook and help
liberate it: http://debian-handbook.info/go/ulule-rh/

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