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Must source code be easy to understand to fall under DFSG?


First I want to tell to you Kyle and Matthew, that this is not a personal
thing against you, and that I have noted the question mark in the end of the
subject ("Contains obfuscated source code, DFSG violation?"). I actually want
to thank you for making me think on what my opinion about open source is.

(I have decided to Cc debian-legal, but I'm not subscribed to that list
so please CC me if you want me to read it).

Now to the reason why I wrote this mail.
I have a question about the bugreport (#383481) because I do not
understand what the problem is. The source code is there, you can
modify it and release it under the same license. Perfectly legal under GPL.

Let me take two examples:
* Person A create a driver by reverse engineering, determine
  that by setting a number of memory parts to different values,
  the hardware will work as expected. Person A do not know why.
* Person B create a driver knowing, that by setting a number of
  memory parts to different values, the hardware will work as
  expected. Person B knows why.

Both persons have released their code under the same license
and they look (almost at least) the same.

Which one will break DFSG?
 - Person A?
 - Person B?
 - None?
 - Both?

I'll take each item in DFSG and determine it from that points:
#1 Free Redistribution
No restriction here.

#2 Source Code
Source code is available. Not perfectly readable, but this is the
source that was released, and licensed away, so yes we have the source.

#3 Derived Works
No restriction.

#4 Integrity of The Author's Source Code
No restriction, you can change as much as you want.

#5 and 6 No Discrimination ...
No discrimination on specific groups in the licsense.

#7 Distribution of License
No problem here.

#8 License Must Not Be Specific to Debian
No problem here.

#9 License Must Not Contaminate Other Software
No restriction here.

#10 Example Licenses
Just examples, and according to the DFSG, GPL is a fully ok license. 

The only thing is #2 above. The question is if someone must release
all it knows when it release open source software (according to DFSG)
or if you can release only enough to make something work. I can also
put it as if you want to make good software, when you release something
as open source?

What I want to tell with this message is that we should stick to
what the license tell. The important thing is that we do not
build something binary that do not contain the code that can
produce that binary.

If we consider this as a violation of the DFSG (because of #2 above),
then where do we draw the line between closed and open source?
Must software be easy to understand, or should we consider all software
that have hardcoded values as closed source?

Will all reverse engineered drivers with hardcoded values be considered
as closed source? Must you always release everything that you know
when you release somehting as open source?
Must we release the instructions on how to paint an image, how to
move the arm while painting if we release an image as open source?

I think this is worth considering. Personally I think this bug can
be closed.


// Ola

 --------------------- Ola Lundqvist ---------------------------
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