On the definition of source [Was: Re: generated source files, GPL and DFSG]
On Wed, 20 Jul 2005, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Don Armstrong <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > On Wed, 20 Jul 2005, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> >> I'm not convinced that it's a widely accepted definition of "source
> >> code".
> > As of yet, no one has put forward a better definition of source code.
> "Anything that allows a form of practical modification consistent
> with the functionality of the resulting work",
What does that mean?
That definition brings up two huge questions in itself:
1) What is a practical modification?
2) What does "consistent with the functionality of the resulting work"
I submit that these questions are even more insurmountable than the
"what is source?" question.
> "Preferred form of modification" doesn't always cut it - the
> author's preferred form of modification may not match anyone else on
> the planet's.
This may be true, but if the author uses a specific form to modify the
work, surely that's good enough for us? It seems to me that any
definition of source that does not include the form that the author
actually uses to create the work is fundamentally flawed.
1: We may decide not to package it for practical reasons as no one
else can maintain it, of course.
2: It should be noted that when I say "prefered form for modification"
I'm refering to the form that the author actually uses when the author
modifies (or baring that, creates) the work; it has nothing to do with
the form J. Random contributor would prefer.
[this space for rent]