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Re: First Draft proposal for modification of Debian Free Software Guidelines:

On Thu, Apr 29, 2004 at 09:53:57AM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> > For example, people say that our logo was non-free.
> It's non-free due to restrictions on use, distribution, and
> modification, not due to a lack of source.

OK, I didn't research very well, being short of time.

> There is certainly a current of opinion among developers that separate
> source forms are less meaningful for images than for programs, though
> it's also not universally accepted.  There are quite a few modifications
> one can usefully make to a bitmapped image, compared to relatively few
> changes you can make to a binary executable.

Well, yeah. But somehow I feel we're losing sight of what's important

Having the full source code (and not something obfuscted beyond
recognition) for a computer program so we are able to fix bugs and, if
necessary, fork it, seems to be essential to what we're doing, namely
providing the world with a operating system that rocks (and is free,
yada, yada).

In contrast, having the possibilty to modify $APPLICATION's stock
'File->Open' icon in its native form, i.e. gimp layers or whatever seems
to be of less importance by several orders of magnitude, as long as we
can *somehow* fix it by e.g. replacing it with another one, or fixing it
by gimping it up or so. I mean, very few of us are graphic designers or
so. Same goes with fonts. Even less so with "You've got mail" sounds or
so, what's the use in having the Cubase samples for that or something?
We could still edit the waveform somehow, even if that would be a bit
more tedious. But all those do not block us from making a Free OS that
rocks, as opposed to not having (i) the source and (ii) the

Sure, there are some valid applications for the above examples. For
instance, I believe we should make as much source available as possible
for Debian-specific graphics/artwork/sounds/fonts. Like e.g. a
Debian-specific GNOME/KDE splash screen or desktop wallpaper, so that
other groups inside of Debian have the least hassle to adopt that type
of media to their needs.

IMHO, we should be pragmatic here in the limits the social contract and
the DFSG allow. Be liberal in what you accept and conservative in what
you give. We should be ruled by the concern whether included that
particular array of bits will (i) improve our distribution, (ii) improve
the Free Software community and (iii) do not impose unreasonable
restriction on the aggregated package.

I'm not sure whether the other developers think alike and if so, whether
we should clarify on this or whether that is the standard reading of the
social contract.


Michael Banck
Debian Developer

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