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Re: Minified files and source code requirement

Philipp Kern <trash@philkern.de> writes:
> On 2011-10-27, Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org> wrote:

>> In other words, given the haziness in this area and the wildly
>> divergent practices of people when creating non-code works, I think we
>> should look at whether the provided "source" provides reasonable
>> opportunity to meet the core definition of free software, namely the
>> ability to study and adopt the work for one's own purposes and
>> republish one's modifications, and not get too hung up on whether the
>> exact tools and steps the original author took are included.

> What about a game that provides a set of resource source files but no
> scripts to create the actual pngs and jpegs?  As long as you just the
> tools (Blender, Gimp and such, Ogre 3D tools) you can sort of get the
> original dump out.

I don't think there's an immediately obvious answer.  To me, it depends on
what someone who wanted to modify the game resources would need in order
to do so.  Do you think that someone who was generating a modified copy of
the game would have available to them all the resources they need to do

> As long as I ship those resources unused as a separate orig tarball,
> would that be acceptable enough for inclusion into Debian?

As long as it's reasonable to expect someone modifying the game to use
just the resources provided in the tarball, and they don't need anything
else to be able to make modifications, I think so.

The way I look at it is that the desire to build everything automatically
from source is, in essence, a test suite.  It's basically a test that the
source *is* the source.  It's a valuable test, and I like tests, and by
all means we should run tests where possible.  I don't ever want to
discourage people from running tests.  But I think it is a test, not a
requirement, and Debian doesn't *require* that software test suites be run
as part of our standard build if there's some difficulty in doing so.

If those source files can't be used to generate the resources, that's a
bug, and if you don't build the resources from the source files, it's a
bug that you may not notice.  Like any other missing test, it increases
the chance that Debian will ship buggy packages.  But just as Debian
doesn't require that all package functionality be covered by a test suite,
I don't think Debian should require that this be covered by a test suite.

Where it's possible to test this, such as regenerating the Autotools
files, or where there are obvious problems in using pregenerated files,
such as the clear and obvious problems with using pre-built ELF binaries,
I'm all in favor of requiring the package build from source in those ways.
But game resources are an example where I think this can be more trouble
than it's actually worth if upstream is uninterested in doing that work
and upstream themselves uses a manual process to generate the data that's
used at runtime for the game.

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

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