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

Michael Banck wrote:

> On Thu, May 06, 2004 at 03:01:29AM -0400, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
>> Michael Banck wrote:
>> > 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.
>> Well, I suppose the graphic designers among Debian should comment.  :-)
> How many are there? How often do you have to modify graphics when
> packaging stuff?

How often do you 'have to' modify programs?  It's not just about when you
'have to', it's also about when you *want to*.  I *want to* modify graphics
and sounds rather often.

I believed that Debian was supposed to free software, not merely "software
which you have the right to modify for the limited purposes of making it
run on your computer".

>> > Same goes with fonts.
>> Likewise.
> You'd find even less people who'd design fonts. And I don't know how
> many would just modify a given font or rather create a new one from
> scratch.

Most would prefer to modify preexisting fonts.  I've talked to people who do
make typefaces, and almost all of them are based on other typefaces.

>> > 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
>> Ow.  A lot more tedious.
> Sure. But how often do you have to modify sounds when packaging stuff?
> Compared to modifying Makefiles or C source code?
> I agree that programs shipping sounds for the sake of *creating* music
> (like samples for a tracker) should be capital F free so that people
> making music can use them in a useful way. But I don't believe the same
> holds for a 'You've got mail' sound from e.g. Evolution.

While there's definitely an important distinction here, this is a deeply
problematic and difficult distinction to pin down.  License texts are
currently exempted partly based on a somewhat similar argument; but they
fall much further on one side of the line.

I think that the right to *repurpose* a derived work is important; just
having the right to modify and use it for the original work's original
purpose is not enough.  Also, the right to *replace* the "You've got mail"
sound is clearly essential.

Given that, if the sound is not legally modifiable -- but you have the right
to remove it and replace it -- isn't it easier all around, and clearer to
users and modifiers, to use a modifiable sound?

> Perhaps the crucial part is to look whether the file in question can be
> reasonably/typically used to create new art/software as opposed to just
> accompain a bigger package.
Well, I haven't found one which couldn't be.

> Source code is fundamentally different, 
> because that's in the scope of our core business.
Um.  Is this really a good, valuable distinction?  Then perhaps Debian
should put all graphics in 'non-free', since they're not 'core', but merely
added value.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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