Re: Lost sources [was: Re: scientific paper in package only in postscript form non-free?]
On Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 03:47:39PM -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:
> 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.]
It is not common, but it does not require insanity. Only that the modifier
does not intend to do any maintenance.
I agree that, in the case of a program as in my example, Debian would
not be interested in redistribution anyway.
> > 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.
Thanks for clarifying.
> Copyleft is
> fundamentally about putting the users of a program on the same footing
> with the same freedoms as the creator of a program.
Copyleft is more. Let A be the original author, B be the modifier and C
a user of the modified work. In my understanding of copyleft, C should
have the same freedoms (including access to real sources) with respect
to the modified work by B as B had with respect to the original work by A.
Not only the same ones that B now has with respect to his own work.
I guess I'll just mark this as yet another reason not to use the GPL.