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Re: A possible GFDL compromise

Fedor Zuev <fedor@earth.crust.irk.ru> writes:
> Documentation in not a software.

This has been refuted so many times. What about help2man, which turns software
into documentation? What about the numerous other times documentation is 
embedded into source code or source code is embedded into documentation?
What about literate programming?

> There is no any one-way transformation from the source to the binary.

It so happens that I do a lot of work for Project Gutenberg, and have
experience in this matter. Our output - no output I've seen to anything
meaningfully called source - is not convertable into the original. We lose
a lot of book related detail, and even stuff that may or may not be relevant
like fonts and font sizes. The original in this digital age is maybe the 
result of a lossy conversion from an original that was marked up with content
orientated tags to a paper format or a more presentation orientated format. 
HTML -> ASCII loses information and has no reliable reverse transformation 
even for the information it doesn't loose.

On the flip side, the transformation from the source to the binary for 
programs is not one-way. You can turn that binary back into source - look 
at dozens of Java disassemblers, and the theory is the same for any 
source->binary language.

> if you can read the document, you always, technically, can OCR it.

No. OCR programs only work at DPIs and quality levels much higher then
the human threshold. And only if they can get images, which is may
be hard to do for a proprietary reader. 72 or 100 DPI isn't high
enough to OCR from, anyway.

> it takes no more than 24-48 man\hours to completely OCR a 
> large 500-700pages book.

For a simple novel, yes. A computer software manual would be much
harder. How long would it take to turn ls back into
a reasonable facsimile of the source code? Probably not a whole lot 
longer, given a skilled programmer. A simple quantitive difference
does not a qualitative difference make.

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