Re: Proposal: Source code is important for all works in Debian, and required for programmatic ones
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I second the below proposal.
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The Free Software movement is about enabling users to modify the works
that they use on their computer; about giving users the same
information that copyright holders and upstream developers have. As
such, a critical part of the Free Software movement is the
availability of source (that is, the form of the work that a copyright
holder or developer would use to actually modify the work) to users.
This makes sure that users are not held hostage by the whims (or lack
of interest or financial incentive) of upstreams and copyright
Different types of works have different forms of source. For some
works, the preferred form for modification may not actually be
digitally transferable. For others, the form that originally was
preferred may have been destroyed at some point in time, and is no
longer available to anyone. However, to the greatest extent
possible, the availability of source code to users is a critical
aspect of having the freedom to modify the software that is running
upon ones computer.
Recognizing this, the Debian Project:
A. Reaffirms that programmatic works distributed in the Debian
system (IE, in main) must be 100% Free Software, regardless of
whether the work is designed to run on the CPU, a subsidiary
processing unit, or by some other form of execution. That is,
works must include the form that the copyright holder or upstream
developer would actually use for modification.
B. Strongly recommends that all non-programmatic works distribute
the form that the copyright holder or upstream developer would
actually use for modification. Such forms need not be distributed
in the orig.tar.gz (unless required by license) but should be
made available on upstream websites and/or using Debian project
C. Reaffirms its continued support of users whose hardware (or
software) requires works which are not freely licensed or whose
source is not available by making such works available in
non-free and providing project resources to the extent that
Debian is capable of doing so.
D. Requests that vendors of hardware, even those whose firmware is
not loaded by the operating system, provide the prefered form for
modification so that purchasers of their hardware can
exercise their freedom to modify the functioning of their
1: Consider film negatives, or magnetic tape in the case of audio
2: Here it must be emphasized that we refer to "technically possible"
or "possible for some party" as opposed to "legally possible for
Debian". We also assume digital distribution, and do not attempt to
require the distribution of physical objects.
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