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Re: Re: License requirements for DSP binaries?

On Tue, Sep 23, 2003 at 08:25:44PM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> We should allow it if source code once existed but no longer exists (all 
> the copies of the source code were wiped accidentally at some time in 
> the past).  (This has happened with old games and firmware fairly often, 
> and the conclusion has been that the binary is now the only meaningful 
> 'source', because it's the preferred form for modification, out of those 
> forms which exist.)

This came up recently.  The GPL does not say "preferred form for
modification out of those forms that still exist" or "of those forms
that are available".  It says "preferred form for modification".

If the binaries were created as binaries, then they're source; but if
they were assembled in some way, then the only way to satisfy the GPL
is with that source.  If it's not available, the GPL can't be satisfied,
regardless of the reason the source isn't available.

That doesn't necessarily mean those binaries can't pass the DFSG if
there's an alternative license for them: the interpretation of DFSG#2
can easily be different than that of the GPL's "preferred form for
modification".  If there was an eg. BSD-ish license on them, then Debian
can freely interpret DFSG#2's "source" to include binaries if no other
source is available.  We just can't interpret the GPL that way.

> But if IBM *has* any source code for this, it should be distributing it. 
>  Someone who cares about the driver should contact IBM about this.

Full agreement.

Glenn Maynard

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