Re: Defining 'preferred form for making modifications'
Thomas Hood <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> License texts must be objective, fair and reasonably precisely
> worded if they are to be enforceable.
This is mostly true, but it is very important to understand that we
are talking about *legally* objective, fair, precise. Such things as
"the preferred form" are very normal legal terms, with quite precise
standards to be applied.
> The question at hand is: In those licenses that dictate that the
> distributor of a binary must also distribute the source of that
> binary in "the preferred form for making modifications", what
> does 'preferred' mean?
"Prefer" is a perfectly normal English word, I really don't think it's
that ambiguous. The preferred form is the form in which people
actually (REALLY ACTUALLY) prefer to make modifications. A given
format might be preferred for one case, but the same technical format
not be preferred for another case.
The chief obstacle you point to is that we wonder "preferred *by
For the life of me, I cannot think of a case where the *real*
preferences would differ depending on who is being measured. It seems
to me that *everyone* would prefer modifying the C code for Emacs to
modifying the assembly code.
Can you give a case where the alleged ambiguity actually comes up?
It's not "which form do you like most", or even "which form do you
prefer", but much more specific: "which form do you prefer for making
modifications", and the use of the passive, "is preferred", appeals to
a general practice for making modifications to similar works, which
general practice, in fact, really does exist.
> I suggested that the term be defined, roughly, as 'the form of the
> program available to the distributor containing the most information'.
If this form is really the one most preferred for making changes, then
you have changed nothing.
If it's *not* the most preferred form in any case, then why should we