Re: Proposal: The DFSG do not require source code for data, including firmware
* Steve Langasek <email@example.com> [2006-08-23 00:18]:
> The application of DFSG#2 to firmware and other data
> The Debian Project recognizes that access to source code for a work of
> software is very important for software freedom, but at the same time
> "source" is often not a well-defined concept for works other than those
> traditionally considered "programs". The most commonly cited definition is
> that found in version 2 of the GNU GPL, "the preferred form of the work for
> making modifications to it," but for non-program works, it is not always
> clear that requiring this "source" as a precondition of inclusion in main
> is in the best interest of our users or advances the cause of Free Software:
> - The author's preferred form for modification may require non-free tools
> in order to be converted into its final "binary" form; e.g., some
> device firmware, videos, and graphics.
> - The preferred form for modification may be orders of magnitude larger
> than the final "binary" form, resulting in prohibitive mirror space
> requirements out of proportion to the benefits of making this source
> universally available; e.g., some videos.
> - The "binary" and "source" forms of a work may be interconvertible with no
> data loss, and each may be the preferred form for modification by
> different users with different tools at their disposal; e.g., some
> While the Debian Free Software Guidelines assert that source code is a
> paramount requirement for programs, they do not state that this is the case
> for non-program works, which permits us to consider whether one of the above
> points justifies a pragmatic concession to the larger context within which
> Free Software operates.
> THE DEBIAN PROJECT therefore,
> 1. reaffirms its dedication to providing a 100% free system to our
> users according to our Social Contract and the DFSG; and
> 2. encourages authors of all works to make those works available not
> only under licenses that permit modification, but also in forms that make
> such modifications practical; and
> 3. supports the decision of the Release Team to require works such as
> images, video, and fonts to be licensed in compliance with the DFSG without
> requiring source code for these works under DFSG #2; and
I agree up to this point, however
> 4. determines that for the purposes of DFSG #2, device firmware
> shall also not be considered a program.
I don't agree with this point.
However I am in favour of an exeption for firmware programs for the
upcoming etch release.
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