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Re: generated source files, GPL and DFSG

On Thu, 2005-07-28 at 20:08 -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 29, 2005 at 12:44:26AM +0000, Brian M. Carlson wrote:
> > On Thu, 2005-07-28 at 15:15 +0100, Steve McIntyre wrote:
[argument of program vs. software]
> > If you are only looking at the DFSG, you are missing the point.  The
> > point is that the Social Contract requires that all software in Debian
> > (that is, main) must comply with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
> > That was the interpretation debian-legal used before last year's GR, and
> > the GR, while editorial, simply made that clearer.
> > Therefore, if the DFSG said that "All ham sandwiches must include source
> > code...", then the Social Contract would still require that all
> > provisions of the DFSG apply to all of main.
> Yes, the DFSG must be applied to everything in main.

So then it must be applied to non-programs as well.

> How do you get from there to "the words 'ham sandwich' must be read as
> 'software'", exactly?

My point was that regardless of the words to be used to describe the
material that the DFSG talks about (in my example, "ham sandwich"), the
Social Contract explicitly applies the DFSG to all works in main (the SC
explicitly uses the word "work").  Because of this, it would be silly to
say that some works require more freedoms than others.

I would say that DFSG 2 should apply to at least documentation, as well
as programs.  My argument goes as follows:  if I write a groff document,
and convert it into HTML with the groff in Debian, it will be
non-standards conformant HTML and pretty crappy HTML in general.  Newer
versions of groff at least fix some of the problems, so it is
conceivable that you might want to reprocess it with groff CVS.  You'd
need the source to do that.  If DFSG 2 should apply to documentation as
well as programs, then why shouldn't it apply to all software?

I might be more persuaded that your interpretation were the case, even
with the Social Contract as it is now, if the text of DFSG 2 were "The
program must include source code... . This section does not apply to
non-programs."  Of course, then we have the definition of program about
which to worry.

Also, nobody has proposed a definition of "program" that is not the same
as "software", in regards to the DFSG.  If you can find one that is
acceptable to at least the ftpmasters (and hopefully debian-legal), then
please state it.

Most likely, someone made an error of precision when writing the DFSG,
as it is common in English to use varying terms to refer to the same
thing and not to repeat words unnecessarily.  Although in this case, as
I said, the authors of the DFSG were imprecise.  They aren't dead, so it
is still possible to ask them what they meant (and I believe this has
already been done).

You also snipped my text about DFSG 6, so I have a question.  Do you
think that DFSG 6 should not apply to all works in main?  Or DFSG 7, 8,
or 9?  If not, why exempt DFSG 2, when there clearly is a definition of
source that can define what the source is for every piece of software?

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