Re: Defining 'preferred form for making modifications'
Jeremy Hankins <email@example.com> writes:
> The difference is that a gif is a lot richer than binary software, in
> the sense of humans being able to do stuff with it.
This is a real difference.
So we have two ways of distinguishing between binary and source:
Way one says that binaries cannot be reasonably modified, whereas
Way two says that source is the preferred form for modification, and
binaries are not.
For C code vs. machine language, these give the same answer. I would
agree that for other situations, including the case we are considering
about images, way number one would allow for more things to be
"source" than the second way.
*But*, and this is, *once again*, my point: the GPL clearly and
unequivocally goes for the second way. In that context, there is no
doubt that it doesn't matter whether the form given *can* be usefully
modified or used or whatever. The GPL's definition is perfectly
unambiguous as it is, and, I think, perfectly reasonable for a
I have not yet decided what I think about the broader case of defining
> I can certainly see the argument that under certain circumstances a
> gif would be considered a binary and something like a .xcf would be
> required source (for copyleft). But I think it's quite a stretch to
> say that that's always the case. That's exactly why the phrase
> "preferred form" is so important. Some of the boundary cases would
> have to be decided on a situational basis; that's not a reason to say
> that gifs can't be copyleft unless they have accompanying source.
I have never said that a gif can't be copyleft. A gif might be the
actual source. Similarly, assembly language is usually not source,
but sometimes indeed it is. In some weird cases, both C and assembly
might *together* be the source: for example, where the assembly is a
human-modified version of what the C compiler produced.