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Re: Inconsistencies in our approach

On Fri, 2003-08-01 at 23:50, John H. Robinson, IV wrote:
> Manoj Srivastava wrote:
> > On Thu, 31 Jul 2003 16:38:43 -0700, John H Robinson, IV <jaqque@debian.org> said: 
> > 
> > > as a mostly passive observer at this point, the only data we are
> > > missing is a clear working definition to separate out Software,
> > > Data, and Documentation.
> > 
> > 	My feeling is that there may not be any such clear cut
> >  distinction. 
> i am going to try to take a stab at it:
> hardware: physical computing devices
> software: logical information stored by hardware devices that can be
> used for computation.
> this allows us to break software into three (or more) areas:
> program: software that provides instructions to hardware
> data: input to software
> documentation: information about software or data
> Drawer 'O': software that does not fit in the above three categories.
> this allows us to neatly sidestep the whole issue, because _online_
> documentation would fit in one of the above four categories of software.
> Debian Will Remain 100% Free Software[0]. so if we never include dead-
> tree documentation as part of Debian, then we can easily and safely
> apply the DFSG to any bit of program/data/documentation/Drawer 'O' that
> is ever uploaded to the archive.

If I have an IA32 binary, running on my home system is clearly a
'program' (if we ignore that some processors do translation of the
"native" instruction set to something else). But if I'm running it on
Bochs on a PPC or SPARC, it's now data to Bochs, a program.

My Perl script is a program, running on a VM. But it's also data to the
Perl interpreter.

CWEB and other literate or semi-literate programming environments allow
you to write documentation and code that are mixed together.

PS, PDF, and LaTeX allow you to write documentation in a Turing-complete
language. HTML/XML is a language for programming a web browser's display
engine, although it's not Turing-complete.

All streams of bits are "Drawer 'O'" software, depending on how you use
it. Please, read the archives.

Then, even if someone does come up with a good delineation between
software and non-software bits, I still haven't seen any convincing
arguments that non-software doesn't need the same kind of freedoms as
Joe Wreschnig <piman@debian.org>

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