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



On Mon, 21 Mar 2011 08:12:11 -0700 (PDT) Ken Arromdee wrote:

> On Fri, 18 Mar 2011, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > 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 can actually happen.  Consider the case where someone edits an audiovisual
> work using uncompressed video and audio files, then deletes them when he's
> done because they take up too much space.  Plenty of sane people will do this.

In this case, by deleting the uncompressed form, they clearly show that
they prefer to keep the compressed form for future modifications,
rather than the uncompressed form.
Hence, in this case, the actual source is the *compressed* form, being
the preferred form for making further modifications.

> 
> (This situation also results in works which cannot be GPLed, if the original
> creator still has the uncompressed files and refuses to distribute them due
> to lack of bandwidth.  GPL may not work too well when the source code is
> hundreds of times the size of the binary.)

Well, it's not the GPL that may fail to work well.
The fact is that it's *not* Free Software, when the original author
keeps the preferred form for making further modifications (that is to
say: source code), but refuses to distribute it.
Hence, whatever license you choose, you're *not* distributing Free
Software, if you keep the source undisclosed.

However, we also have to consider this: in some cases, when the
uncompressed form is hundreds of times larger than the compressed form,
the former may be really unpractical to handle. In those cases, maybe
we prefer to use some compressed form to make further modifications,
just for practical reasons.
Well: in those cases, the preferred form for making further
modifications is that *compressed* form, which is consequently the
actual source!


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