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Re: Minified files and source code requirement

Paul Wise <pabs@debian.org> writes:

> What is the preferred form for modification for a work (aka source) is
> highly context-dependent.

I'd like to poke a little bit at the assumption that these two things are
the same and that Debian necessarily uses the GPL term as our definition
of source.

To me, the source of something is *a* form suitable for modification of
the work.  This is *not* necessarily the same thing as the GPL's "the
preferred form of the work for making modifications to it."  I think
Debian's term means that the form has to be suitable for modification by a
reasonable "average person" who is technically skilled enough to be able
to modify the work.  I think it's a bit of a leap that it necessarily
means that it has to be whatever form that the author of the work
personally prefers, and even more of a leap that it has to be the form
that the author of the work used originally.

For example, suppose I include an image in a piece of software that I
generated by taking a digital photograph of something in RAW, manipulating
it in Photoshop, and then exporting it as a JPEG.  What's the source?  In
the GPL sense, one can make an argument that the original RAW image is the
preferred form for modification, since if I had it available I'd probably
use it rather than the JPEG to make further changes.  However, I think the
JPEG is perfectly reasonable source from the Debian perspective: there is
nothing about the JPEG that prevents people from making further
transformations and changes and creating a derivative work.  It may not be
ideal, similar to how working with source without the revision history
from the original VCS repository isn't ideal, but it's certainly
*possible* and even reasonable.

Russ Allbery (rra@debian.org)               <http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/>

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