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generated source files, GPL and DFSG


I am the new maintainer of GFingerPoken, and have had a discussion with the
upstream author.  I would like to have your opinion about this.

Some background about all this:
First of all, GFingerPoken is released under the GPL.

GFingerPoken uses xpms for the graphics.  Those files are included in the
distribution as .h files, and included directly into the source.  Some of
them, however, were generated from other files by means of pov-ray.  Those
files are not in the distribution, but they can be downloaded from the same
site as a different tarball.

The previous maintainer packaged only the distribution tarball, and used the
(generated) .h-files for the compilation of the program.  Technically, that is
not problematic at all.

However, when I found that (some of) the graphics had a source from which they
could be compiled, I concluded two things:
- To satisfy the GPL, the source for those graphics needs to be distributed as
  well, so it must be in the source package.
- I don't know if it's actually written anywhere, but I thought everything
  that has source and can be compiled should be compiled at package build
  time.  This means the .h-files have to be regenerated (with pov-ray, in this

Now that's where the problem starts: pov-ray is in non-free, so any package
with a Build-depends: on it must be in contrib (if it is itself free).  I
don't like to have non-free software on my machine, so I didn't like that
idea.  I thought of two solutions for that: create new artwork, or do some
editing on the existing artwork, which cannot be done automatically.  The
latter would make it technically impossible to generate the result from
source, which would probably remove the requirement to do so.  However, that
just felt too much like going against the gist of the policy, so I chose not
to do that.

That was my take on the story.  I am not sure if I disagree with the upstream
author, but here's some of his opinions, copied from a mail with his

> I take issue with your claim that it doesn't meet DFSG.  That's kind of like
> saying that since the source code to my brain isn't available, nothing I
> write with it is free.  The two .h files are in fact GPLed.  The means by
> which they were produced does not impact their free, as in speech, status.
> You might say that this would allow a person to release object code and call
> it free.  In fact, if the original software release was a binary object that
> was then "compiled" into the final binary, it's still free.  The problem
> comes if some other source was released and a person changes this source,
> releases a new binary based on that source, but does not release the source
> used.
> Now, since my game is GPLed, you can replace the artwork.  Maybe I'll like
> it more.  But to claim that the original game does not meet DFSG is bogus.
> If you'd like, we could bring it up with debian-legal, or I could probably
> get the opinion of a professional lawyer (not to say that debian-legal does
> not have actual professional lawyers).
> - Martin

On 7/12/05, Bas Wijnen <shevek@fmf.nl> wrote:
> Debian dictates that everything in the main archive must be "free" according
> to the "Debian free software guidelines" (DFSG).  That means that the full
> source code must be available.  And everything must be compiled from source.
> To be in the main archive, not only the code must be DFSG free, but also the
> compiler.  So far so good.  Now there are two files in the tarball which
> aren't actually source files: tilepix.h and marblepix.h.  They are generated
> from source files with povray.  And unfortunately, povray is not DFSG free
> (it prohibits commercial use).
> This left me with some options, of which the reasonable ones were:
> - Recreate the artwork without povray
> - Put the package in the "contrib" section (which is for free software with
>   non-free [build-]dependancies)
> I don't like having non-free things on my computer, and I don't want to
> encourage others to have them, so I chose for the first option.

Note that some (irrelevant) parts were cut out.

Now what I would like to ask you is this:
What is your view on this situation?  Can GFingerPoken be in main with the
original artwork, or not?

Thanks in advance for your comments.
Please CC me in any reply, I am not on this list.  Martin doesn't want his
e-mail address harvested, so I Bcc'd him with this message and will send any
replies through to him.

Bas Wijnen

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