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Re: GPLed software with no true source. Was: Bug#402650: ITP:mozilla-foxyproxy

"Kevin B. McCarty" <kmccarty@Princeton.EDU> writes:

> Evan Prodromou wrote:
> personally (IANAL) I'd consider whitespace stripping to be a
> non-issue.  After a change that is trivial for any downstream
> recipient of the code to make (running the afore-mentioned
> "indent"), the whitespace-stripped code is transformed into a
> Javascript file that is functionally identical to the original even
> if not bit-for-bit identical.

Careful with this. "functionally identical" is not what is needed; we
need the work *in the form that's preferred for modification*,
including all comments and other human-to-human communication. The
entire point of getting the source code is that it's what the *human*
needs as a programmer, not that it's "functionally identical" to the
original program.

In the case of whitespace stripping, specifically for ECMAscript (and
not, e.g., Python), the whitespace *can* be stripped and re-added. But
that doesn't mean that any change resulting in a "functionally
identical" version of the work satisfies the "preferred form of the
work for making modifications to it" test.

Hence I don't think it's helpful to ask whether what the recipient
receives is "functionally identical". Source code is a communication
from one programmer to another, much more than it is a communication
from one programmer to a CPU.

 \       "He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder."  -- |
  `\                                           Maurits Cornelis Escher |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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