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Re: generated source files, GPL and DFSG

On Tue, 19 Jul 2005 16:13:43 +0100 Matthew Garrett wrote:

> There's two main issues here.
> 1) Does everything in main have to include the preferred form of
> modification?

IMHO, yes, as this is the widely accepted definition of "source code"
(it is found in the GPL text, as you know) and DFSG#2 mandates the
inclusion of source code.

> I don't believe so, and it's trivial to demonstrate that this isn't
> the current situation (see the nv driver in the X.org source tree, for
> instance).

The presence of other bugs does not excuses us from fixing a bug when we
find it out.
That said, I didn't have time to reread the old thread about the nv
driver, and I don't recall what the conclusion was...  :-(

> The DFSG require the availability of source code, and it
> seems reasonable to believe that anything that can be reasonably
> modified falls into that catagory.

A binary executable can be reasonably modified with a hex editor (warez
dudes do exactly that, in order to remove anti-copy or registration
mechanisms from proprietary programs).

> The graphics are available in a
> form that can be modified with free tools (the .xpm files).
> However, I know that other people disagree with my viewpoint on this.

I belong to that class of people...
In other words, I'm sorry to say this, but I disagree.

> 2) Does a GPLed work have to include the preferred form of
> modification?
> Probably, and this may include the source code for the graphics.

If the graphics are GPL'd (as in this case), I would have said "surely".

> However, this may also be affected by the copyright holder's
> interpretation of the preferred form of modification

One should show by practice what is his/her preferred form for
modification: simply stating "I prefer modifying the binary executable
with a hex editor" while you don't do it (either because you don't
modify at all, or because you modify the C++ code and then recompile)
should not be considered enough to say that the binary executable *is*
the source code...

> and whether the
> GPLed code is a derived work of the graphics or not.

If the artwork is itself GPL'd, asking what is derived from what seems
to be useless...

> On the other
> hand, if we accept my opinion on point (1), even if we need to include
> the pov-ray models we are not required to build from them in order to
> satisfy the DFSG.

    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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