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Re: Proposal: The DFSG do not require source code for data, including firmware

On Tue, Aug 22, 2006 at 03:18:04PM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
>         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
>    fonts.
>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.
>        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
>        4. determines that for the purposes of DFSG #2, device firmware
>shall also not be considered a program.


Aníbal Monsalve Salazar

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