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Re: Proposal: Source code is important for all works in Debian, and required for programmatic ones

On Thu, Aug 24, 2006 at 11:51:51PM -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:
>I'd like to propose the following option to the current GR process.
>As I will (starting late sunday PDT) be away for a week and a few days
>at Burning Man,[i] I will be unable to appropriately respond to
>corrections and suggested amendments during that time. However, I will
>do so immediately at my return.

Seconded, with or without clause D.

>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.[1] 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,[2] 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
>     resources.
>  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 are can
>     exercise their freedom to modify the functioning of their
>     hardware.
>1: Consider film negatives, or magnetic tape in the case of audio
>   recordings.
>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.
>Obvious points for discussion:
>1. I would really like to be able to commit to some form of
>   installation support for users who need to be able to use non-free
>   firmware to install their system; some more work is needed in d-i
>   land, though to make sure that this is separated out and that it's
>   trivial to have a Free system, and know that what you're
>   installing/using/distributing is Free Software.
>2. Distributing the huge source forms for non-programmatic works is
>   going to be a problem. I don't think they're needed in the
>   orig.tar.gz, because that would needlessly bloat the archive, and
>   it's probably not required unless the works are copylefted.
>   However, we should make an effort to encourage upstreams to make
>   them available and likewise make them available to our users. [Even
>   if it's just in people.debian.org/~you/ or similar and mentioned in
>   the copyright file, it'd be a good step.]
>3. If there is substantial objection to D, I will probably remove it;
>   however firmware, whether we happen to distribute it or not, is a
>   hazard to user's freedom to modify the functioning of their
>   computers.
>4. Finally, if in the context of the release of etch, we need to
>   compromise our ideals and accept programmatic works without source,
>   we should do so by specifically exempting them from DFSG 2 for the
>   purpose of releasing etch by a GR which needs to meet the 3:1
>   requirement instead of attempting to define ourselves into such a
>   position, especially when source code is clearly a desirable thing
>   to have from our users and our perspective.
>Don Armstrong
>i: At Big Time; usually somewhere around 9:30 and Hope (outer ring)
>with multiple domes (big-ish to small) and a few mobile domes as well
>in case someone wants to find me. ;-)
>"There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the    
>right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself."
> -- Bach 
>http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

Aníbal Monsalve Salazar

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