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Re: No source code for wesnoth-music

On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 07:57:39PM +0200, Francesco Poli wrote:
> I am not convinced: if someone releases a work under the GPL without
> making the corresponding source available, nobody else really has the
> true permission to redistribute, as the license requires
> re-distributors to make source available, but they cannot, since they
> do not have it in the first place.

Law is not a computer algorithm, and the intention of the licensor must be
taken into consideration. If licensing the software under the GPL indicates
a clear intent to allow redistribution, provided that the same freedom you
were granted by the copyright holder is passed on to those who get the
software from you, the fact that a small portion of the overall software
package has no source code available (even to the copyright holder) should not
bar such redistribution.

Under certain civil law jurisdictions, it would also be technically accurate
to state that conditions which cannot possibly be met are void, although they
do not void the rest of the contract of which they are part.

Again, making it clearer does not hurt and certainly avoids potential
future discussion, but I do not agree there is any risk of liability by not
distributing something the copyright holder (inadvertently) required you to
redistribute, without ever distributing it to you.

> There was a GR in 2004 to clarify the social contract, in order to make
> it clear that the DFSG apply to all works (in Debian main), not just
> executable programs.
> Hence I think the agreed upon interpretation is that music and images
> must include source code.

I am not discussing whether the music and image files in the Debian archive
should comply with the DFSG requirements or not - I have been a strong
advocate thereof since the early days of my involvement with Debian, back in
2002. What I am arguing is whether wesnoth music and image files would be
considered non-free, given the circumstances.

On one hand, I concede that it would be good policy to require that all these
files be in a more appropriate format for editing purposes, because it would
further our goals, stimulate best practices and help spread the often ignored
perception that these compressed files do not contribute to the development of
Free Software.

However, I do not think that attaching the non-free label to an effectively
free piece of software is consistent with the other goals we have agreed on
as a community, especially if there is no unwillingness on the upstream
author's part to fix a license problem, or any attempt to circumvent the
requirements of the DFSG and deprive our users of their freedoms, but rather
an unfortunate lack of caution with the handling of file formats.

These are considerations that apply to the specific circumstances of the given
case. I am not trying to revert the project consensus (and that might be
related to the fact that I agree with it!), just trying to be reasonable.

Quoting from another GR proposition (that did not pass), source code can be
understood as the "form that the copyright holder or upstream developer would
actually use for modification", and not a format that is preferred in absolute
terms or in hypothetical situations.

I am still worried about the precedent and about the consequences of the
widespread application of this same "waiver" to the rest of the archive, but
I have a strong personal feeling about considering wesnoth non-free for this
sole reason.

Guilherme de Siqueira Pastore

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