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Re: No source code for wesnoth-music



On Mon, 16 Apr 2012 20:56:55 -0500 Guilherme de Siqueira Pastore wrote:

> 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.

I agree, but the intention is in general not overly clear, especially
when a licensor releases a work under the GPL and, at the same time,
does not make source available.
Self-contradicting actions leave the beholders in doubt about the real
intentions.

Please also take into account that, in some cases, the authors of some
wesnoth-music files explicitly *refused* to release source (== their
preferred form for making modifications), and proposed, as a "solution"
to re-license under the terms of a license which does *not* have any
source-availability requirement. So, at least in those cases, their
intentions to *not* make source available is pretty clear.
See the previously cited forum threads...

> 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.

I don't know how it would end up in court, in case someone [*] sues,
but I think that, in order to be on the safe side, we should assume a
strict interpretation of the license and consider those files as
legally undistributable.

[*] by "someone", I mean the copyright holder(s) of other parts
of the package, not the authors of the unreleased source files

> 
> 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.

Would you reason the same way, if we were speaking about a GPL-licensed
executable program, distributed in binary form, while keeping its
source code secret?

> 
> 
> > 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.

For the cases where it is clear that the source (== preferred form for
making modifications) is not what is being distributed and the original
authors explicitly stated that they do *not* want to release it to the
public, ..., well, how shall we call these files? "differently free"?!?

[...]
> 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.

In some cases there appears to be an unwillingness to fix this issue,
as the authors actively refused to release source.

In other cases, the form originally used to generate the distributed
file seems to no longer exist. If this is really true, then the source
for such a file is clearly one of the actually existing ones: possibly
the one which is being distributed; if this is the case, no problem
whatsoever.

> 
> 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.

I am also trying to be reasonable: I think that we should not set
precedents that qualify secret-source files as acceptable in Debian
main, just because they are not programs...

> 
> 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.

But here we are talking about the form that the author would actually
use for modification: in some cases, he/she states that he/she really
used that form and would still use it, but refuses to disclose it.

> 
> 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.

I think that we should strive to fix as many similar issues as we can,
rather than accepting one case, then another, then a third, and so
forth, down on a slippery slope...


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..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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