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Re: Minified files and source code requirement

On Thu, 27 Oct 2011, Paul Wise wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 1:08 AM, Raphael Hertzog wrote:
> > 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.
> I think this is exactly the same as xserver-xorg-video-nv, which
> contained obfuscated C code instead of the actual source code. I
> personally considered that a DFSG violation but I guess you would not?

I would consider it a DFSG violation. It's all a matter of intent.

Obfuscated != minified.

In one case we have unreadable C code where you don't have access to
the unobfuscated version and this was done on purpose by the upstream
authors to make it difficul to understand what the code does.

In the other case you have unreadable javascript code but you can easily
find the corresponding source code on numerous places (sometimes in the
corresponding Debian package, sometimes in an older version of it on
snapshot.debian.org and generally on its upstream website). The
minification was not even done by the upstream that uses that file but
by the original project who delivers both files. The minification is not
done to make it more difficult to understand the code or make changes, but
to save time when downloading the file.

Requiring the non-minified file to be provided in the same source package
is not a very productive use of our time. In particular if you don't go
to the step beyond which is to modify the upstream build process to
regenerate the minified file from the original one. Otherwise modifying
that file in the source and rebuilding it does not have the expected

I think it's great to encourage this sane behaviour, but it's not a
bug that's worth a serious severity.

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

I share entirely the opinion of Russ who replied to this specific point.

We should not mix the minimal requirements that we have and our own
personal ideals in terms of what's needed to modify in sane conditions the
stuff what we are releasing.

Raphaël Hertzog ◈ Debian Developer

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