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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
> whom*?"

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 
preferred form?
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>  

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