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Re: A radical approach to rewriting the DFSG

I've asked you in the past to fix your mailer, so it doesn't break
threads.  You have laid waste to several large threads on d-devel.
You're still doing so.  Please fix it; breaking threads is breaking
conversations, when threads become large.

On Mon, May 31, 2004 at 09:47:28AM -0300, Humberto Massa wrote:
> > Is there a benefit to using a different definition than the GPL?
> You've said it below. The "preferred form for modification" is vague as 
> to "whom does prefer it"? "Appropriate" is a far less ambiguous term, 
> and the rest of the phrase ("for modifying ... and inspecting ...") 
> makes it IMVHO perfectly unambiguous.

To the person modifying it.  Not the original author; if I modify
a work, and in the process of doing so, my preferred form changes,
then the source changes.

> > One case where this seems different is images. For example, I have
> > several PNGs, generated by Photoshop. The PNG itself is appropriate
> > for modifying the work, but it's not the preferred form for
> > modification. Going by feel, it's not the source of the work at all.
> But it is (the source), according to the definition phrased above. 

It's source according to my interpretation of the word "source".  The
example is intended to show that I believe the definition is wrong (too
loose), at least for this case.  I think using a definition of "source"
that differs notably from common use is going to lead to confusion at best.

> Or not? It's possible that information is lost (like layers?) Hmmmm.

PSDs store layers, as well as a lot of other things: text layers (text
string + font settings), filtering settings, etc.  However, the resulting
PNG is still a form appropriate for modifying the work; I've modified
many such PNGs.  (Indeed, after doing so, the source for that PNG becomes
the PNG.)

> Hehe. Anyway, I think in another thread we concluded (or I concluded ??? 
> makes a lot of difference) that .ttf font files and the metafont format 
> are completely interchangeable, because you can represent the same 
> information in both formats. IIRC, the "more-open" metafont format is 
> more expressive, too, so, there is no need to worry about fonts.

To conclude that .TTF files are source, I'd want to see a person experienced
in professional font editing saying "yes, a .TTF file is the form I'd ask
for from the original author if I wanted to make modifications to a font".
If a font is actually authored in some other format (even if it's for
a proprietary tool), and the resulting TTFs aren't equivalent, then it's
simply not source.

Another way of looking at it: if the original author lost the proprietary
data file, would he curse and start looking for backups, or would he just
load up the TTF?  If the former, then the TTF is not source.  (If the
latter, it's probably source, unless the author doesn't really care about
the font anymore.)

(I don't know much about font hinting, but I'd suspect that a real source
format for fonts might include things like comments: "this is hinted this
way for this reason".)

I'm still not claiming that we should demand such source files or not--"what
is source" vs "do we want that source" are two distinct questions, and we
can't answer the second without being able to answer the first.

Glenn Maynard

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