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Re: Defining 'preferred form for making modifications'

On Tue, Jun 17, 2003 at 02:47:58PM +0200, Thomas Hood wrote:

> Objection #1: The license must not force the licensee to keep around
> old crufty versions of the source.

> Answer: Using my definition, it doesn't. The licensee is only required
> to provide the most informative form at his disposal.  Does this mean
> that he can destroy his source files and then not distribute source?

I really don't think that the form that contains the *most* information
is necessarily the best, because this prevents someone from improving
the source by removing *extraneous* information.  If two forms of source
code compile to give identical binaries, which form contains more
information -- the one with pointless comments and more KLOCs, or the
one that's more concise and easier to read?

> Yes; but that isn't a problem: if the source has really been 
> destroyed, then no license will bring it back; and we don't want to
> punish people for losing their source files; and we don't want to
> rule out the distribution of binaries for which the sources have 
> disappeared.

On the contrary, I *do* want to prevent people from claiming such a
sourceless program is free software.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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