[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Defining 'preferred form for making modifications'

J.D. Hood said:
> I suggest that the definition of 'preferred form for
> making modifications' be information-theoretical.
> When source code is compiled into binary code there is a
> loss of information, as indicated by the fact that you
> cannot get the original source back, given only the binary
> code.
> On the other hand, if there is a set of different forms
> each of which is convertible into the others by means of
> freely available tools then any member of the set is as
> good as any other.

Unfortunately, there is a class of tools which do not meaningfully change
source code, but result in an information-theoretical loss.  indent(1) is a
prime example of this class.  Running indent(1) on Free Source should not
make it non-Source.

There is also a class of tools which makes source effectively unmodifiable,
but is not information-theoretically lossy.  For example, an obfuscator
which translates everything to C trigraphs.  Running this on Free Source
makes it non-Source.

Finally, there is a very lossy conversion which must be Free, and that is
linguistic translation.


Reply to: