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Re: Lost sources [was: Re: scientific paper in package only in postscript form non-free?]

On Fri, 18 Mar 2011, Mark Weyer wrote:
> Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding, let me rephrase my
> scenario: Someone modifies a GPLed work, say a program written in C.
> Between compiling and distributing, he deliberately deletes the C
> files. Then he distributes the compiled binary. By the "if the
> source does not exist any more, what is left is source" rule, the
> compiled binary now is its own source because it is the (only and
> thus) prefered form for making further changes.

Yes, but this isn't something that a sane upstream is ever going to
do, so it's not worth discussing much. [And frankly, if it's something
that upstream does do, one should strongly question whether Debian
should actually be distributing the work in question anyway.]

> I feel that this is against the spirit of copyleft, so I am
> surprised that it is claimed not to be against the letter of the
> GPL.
> I do not understand what it has to do with privileged positions.

Because the source no longer exists, the upstream is not in a
privileged position for making future modifications. Copyleft is
fundamentally about putting the users of a program on the same footing
with the same freedoms as the creator of a program.

Don Armstrong

Leukocyte... I am your father.
 -- R. Stevens http://www.dieselsweeties.com/archive.php?s=1546

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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