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

Hi Mathew

(Anyone on debian-legal: please note and maintain the Cc:s)

On Tue, Oct 31, 2006 at 04:26:38PM +0000, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 31, 2006 at 05:00:15PM +0100, Ola Lundqvist wrote:
> (Anyone on debian-legal: please note and maintain the Cc:s)
> > As you say you need the prefered form of _modification_, which means
> > that if we change things, we are not allowed to obfuscate it. I can not
> > see anything that enfoce the original author to actually do such
> > obfuscation.
> No, the preferred form *for* modification. 

Hmm, you may be right.

> > The only requirement on the original author (as I can determine) is that
> > you get source code for it, not that it is in preferred form for making
> > modification.
> That's perfectly acceptable. Upstream can do whatever they want. 
> However, if upstream do not provide the preferred form for modification 
> (ie, the unobfuscated version), Debian can not distribute it under the 
> terms of the GPL.

True. But do this mean that Nvidia have actually violated the license that
they have released their software under? Well maybe not as they may not
need to accept the license to actually use their rights...

As I understand from this, is that it is not enough to know that the software
is licensed under GPL, we must also check every single line of code (manually)
to determine if it is obfuscated or not before we include it into
Debian? Or should we just do this on a best effort basis, that is
file serious bugs when we encounter this.

> That's not an issue in this case, since X is not a GPLed application. 

The bug I'm referring to is actually on linux-2.6 and not on X. :) The
original bug was on X though.

> Debian can distribute the obfuscated code entirely legally, without 
> violating any licenses. The issue is whether "source" in the DFSG refers 
> to the GPL's definition ("the preferred form for modification") or not. 
> An alternative interpretation could be "a form amenable to modification 
> by people sufficiently familiar with the work".
> If people define source as "the preferred form for modifications" in all 
> cases, then there's no place for deliberately obfuscated code in Debian.

That is what the Open Source Definition tell. The open source definition
is only applicable on programs though. But we do not enforce the usage
of the open source definition as far as I know. Or do we?


> There's also arguably no place for works that are only available 
> as JPEGs, any flattened image formats, mp3s, PDFs and so on. Right now 
> there doesn't seem to be a strong opinion in the project about that, but 
> I expect it's a discussion that needs to be had.

True. The positional statement that clarified was not the winner in one
of our votes:

> (For anyone doubting that the nvidia code is deliberately obfuscated - 
> http://cvsweb.xfree86.org/cvsweb/xc/programs/Xserver/hw/xfree86/vga256/drivers/nv/Attic/nv4driver.c.diff?r1= 
> ought to make it pretty clear)

I may be stupid ( :) ) but I can only see that the code is not trivially
easy to read (on either sides). I do not know who did this change
and so on. I can see that the older one is slightly easier to read
on some areas, but that is all I can tell (as I'm not that familiar
with this source). :)

Best regards,

// Ola

> -- 
> Matthew Garrett | mjg59@srcf.ucam.org

 --- Ola Lundqvist systemkonsult --- M Sc in IT Engineering ----
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