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Re: Definitions of object code [Re: Free Art License]

On Fri, Oct 01, 2004 at 01:28:39AM -0500, Joe Wreschnig wrote:
> On Thu, 2004-09-30 at 21:25, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> > On Thu, Sep 30, 2004 at 08:24:46PM -0500, Joe Wreschnig wrote:
> > > I've a number of documents that say "References to "object code" and
> > > "executables" in the GNU GPL are to be interpreted as the output of any
> > > document formatting or typesetting system, including intermediate and
> > > printed output." Some of them I've written, but I borrowed the wording
> > > from something else (I suspect in Debian), and I've encouraged people to
> > > use this phrasing many times since.
> > 
> > What if I take a man page, output it as plain text, and use that as source,
> > modifying it, maintaining it, etc. and discarding the original manpage?  The
> > GPL lets me do that; this "interpretation" does not.

> Okay. I think you are alone in this opinion, but that's just based on
> the fact no one's ever expressed a problem with this before. I haven't
> thought much about such a case, but my (tentative) position is that such
> a use would not be allowed by the GPL even without this statement. In
> particular the GPL talks about needing to do things to "files", and the
> need for the source to be "machine-readable". Your source-on-paper, even
> if it is the preferred form of modification, is neither a file nor
> machine readable, so you can't meet the terms of the GPL anyway.

"Plain text" meant "manpage.txt", a file output from the document formatting
system nroff[1], and then edited to create "API Documentation.txt".

If I was forking documentation, and it was written as a manpage, that's
probably the first thing I'd do: convert it into a format that won't give
me a tumor.  That output becomes my new source.

I believe the GPL clearly allows this.  The text file is my preferred form
for modification.

[1] or groff or cough or whatever, I can never keep them straight

Glenn Maynard

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