[cc-licenses] Source Requirements

Francesco Poli frx at firenze.linux.it
Sun Dec 3 11:30:23 EST 2006


On Sat, 2 Dec 2006 15:10:00 -0500 Benj. Mako Hill wrote:

> I think it's always
> important and frequently very easy to include a source requirement for
> non-software.
> 
> In fact, I have used the GPL for many non-software works; nobody
> confuses a PDF or a printed copy of a book with the "preferred form
> for modification." When I, as the author, want to make a change to a
> work, I pick up one copy and not the other. It's not hard for me to
> make that distinction in most cases and it wouldn't be hard for a
> judge to either.
> 
> In practice, there are very troubling corner cases that open space for
> disagreement. There are some in software too (look at the discussion
> around the nv driver now). However, there is a larger number of works
> for which we don't require source through CC licenses where doing so
> would be both useful and easy.

100 % agreement (assuming you mean "program code", when you say
"software"[1]).

Just to explain further, for any piece of information that can be
processed by computer systems[2], there can be more than one form and
all of them are modifiable[3].  The GNU GPL defines "source code" as the
preferred form for modifications.  Quoting from the GNU GPL v2:

| The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
| making modifications to it.

Among the possible forms of a work, there always is one that is
preferred[4] for making modifications to the work.


[1] I instead use the term "software" in a broader sense
[2] which is, more or less, what I call "software", BTW
[3] if you have a file, you can modify it, even if it's a binary
    executable (maybe you need to go through difficult steps with a hex
    editor, but it's still possible!)
[4] or, at least, one non-empty set of equivalently preferred forms

-- 
But it is also tradition that times *must* and always
do change, my friend.   -- from _Coming to America_
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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