Re: Defining 'preferred form for making modifications'
On Tue, 17 Jun 2003, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> The chief obstacle you point to is that we wonder "preferred *by
I agree that this is the ambiguity which should be addressed. We also
need to achieve consensus on whether a work can be free if the author's
preferred form is only easily editable using proprietary (or even
non-available) tools. I say it can, but I can't see how to phrase this
requirement in a compatible way.
> For the life of me, I cannot think of a case where the *real*
> preferences would differ depending on who is being measured.
Goodness, this is easy. There are a number of icons and images in
products whose original creator preferred to edit in photoshop, with crazy
psd files that contain layering, gamma, and other useful information. I
made further modifications to the resulting GIF file. My preferred form
is gif, hers is psd. I don't even have the psd anymore.
Can my gif file ever be free? Can her psd file be free if it's in an
undocumented format which is only editable in a proprietary tool?
I say "yes" to both. I believe the requirement should be interpreted as
the preferred form for modification by the distributor of the work. I
would have no problem with a prohibition against explicit obfuscation.
> It seems
> to me that *everyone* would prefer modifying the C code for Emacs to
> modifying the assembly code.
Yup, this one seems unambiguous. It's less clear in the case where
there's a custom preprocessor (that handles localization of strings or
something) - if I do edits on the post-processed code, what is now the
Mark Rafn firstname.lastname@example.org <http://www.dagon.net/>