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

On Thu, 02 Nov 2006 18:12:05 -0600 Terry Hancock wrote:

> Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:
> > That's what I would think. But consider this example. I write texts
> > in a homebrewed XML format, which makes little sense for anyone but
> > me. Obviously I prefer to use that format. I have an XSLT
> > transformation to make it HTML, and I distribute that HTML version
> > of the texts. Is that source?
> Yes, it seems the question here is *whose* "preferred form for
> modifications"?
> The GPL appears to assume there is a general consensus on this, and
> there may not be.

IMO, whenever there's any doubt about which is the preferred form
("preferred by whom?"), we should follow the preferences of the last
modifier: if you actually modify a work, you've shown in practice what
is your preferred form for modifications (rather than simply claiming in
a vacuum what *would* be your preferred form, should you make
modifications that you don't actually make!).

That is the interpretation that allows source to change form, whenever
someone needs so.  Hence, if Fred Fortraner writes a program in
Fortran77 and releases it under the GNU GPL v2, David Distributer must
make the (unobfuscated) Fortran77 code available as source.  But then,
Pete Pythonhacker can take the program, translate it into Python
(because he cannot stand Fortran) and go on modifying the Python
derivative: at that point, the source for the derivative is Python
And so forth.

> It's clearly going to be a judgement call, but I'd guess that "in a
> standard format" which will be understood by potential modifiers is
> more important than "in the original form" which may not be.

I disagree: there's no "standard format" (whatever that may mean)
requirement in the GPL definition of source code.

> Of course in your specific case, I think it'd be better to have your
> original XML *and* the XSLT translator so that the HTML can be
> generated from it. The question, I would suppose though is not one of
> "best practice" but of "permissable practice", and I think the HTML is
> good enough.

I don't think so.
Machine-generated HTML is not source, at least not until it becomes the
form that is actually preferred for making modifications to the work...

> (Not a debian developer or a lawyer. Just a user).

The same holds for me: IANAL, IANADD.

But it is also tradition that times *must* and always
do change, my friend.   -- from _Coming to America_
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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