Re: generated source files, GPL and DFSG
Glenn Maynard <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 23, 2005 at 02:35:01AM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
>> So say we have two drivers for a piece of hardware. One is written
>> without comments. One was originally commented, but the comments have
>> been removed. Both provide the same amount of information about how they
>> work. Both are released under the same license. Both provide exactly the
>> same freedoms to our users.
>> How is one of these free and the other non-free?
> One provided source, the other did not, and Debian considers having source
> fundamental to having a free program.
"Because it is, damnit"?
> Take it a step further, and say we have two drivers: one written in heavily-
> optimized, uncommented assembly, and one written in C, compiled with
> optimizations and disassembled. They look pretty much the same; as you say,
> both provide the "same freedoms to our users". Is disassembly output of a
> compiled program "source" to you? Is one free and the other non-free?
If the ease of modification is equivalent in both cases, then I'd
consider them to be equally free. If it's impractical for anyone to
modify either, then I'd consider them non-free. "Free software" that
provides no practical way of excercising its freedoms is not something
that we should be supporting or holding up as an example to others.
Matthew Garrett | email@example.com