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Re: Bug#383481: Must source code be easy to understand to fall under DFSG?

Ola Lundqvist <opal@debian.org> writes:

> Hi
> 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.

* Person C creates a driver knowing with properly names defines and
comments explaining why he does what and where to easily readable
structures of the register mappings of the hardware. Person C then
goes and obfuscates the code into putting seemingly random values into
seemingly random addresses. Person C still uses his unobfuscated code
to makes changes but only releases the obfuscated version under GPL.

> 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?

Only C. But deciding if B or C applies it quite impossible.

> 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.

Under GPL (as in my example Person C) you need the prefered form of
modification, which is more than what the DFSG strictly called
for. But most people might take it as the same (meaning ofuscating is
so evil it breaks this rule).

> #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. 
> -----


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