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SubjectRe: Is the BitKeeper network protocol documented?
On Mon, 20 Jan 2003 15:32:53 -0500, Valdis.Kletnieks@vt.edu wrote:
>On Mon, 20 Jan 2003 11:43:48 PST, David Schwartz said:

>>Checking source code out of a repository is an obfuscatory act
>>that
>>separates the raw source code from the rationale for that source
>>code. It's equivalent to stripping comments. The GPL does not allow

>So is shipping the source without the transcript of the kernel
>developer's
>conference, because then you're stripping out some of the design
>rationale.

If a transcipt of the developer's conference is part of the
preferred form of the source for making modifications, then the
GPL requires that you distribute that. I would argue that it probably
isn't, but if many of the developers have access to that transcript
it and use it while they make modifications, then it's an arguable
point.

>So is shipping the source without a neuron dump of the programmer -
>let's face
>it, we've ALL looked at code and said "What WERE they thinking?",
>and therefor
>a neuron dump would be part of the *preferred* format.

If the people who make most of the modifications have access to and
use such a dump in the process of making modifications, then it would
probably be part of the preferred form.

>You seem determined to obfuscate the issue by confusing the *SOURCE*
>that
>actually gets modified, and metainformation used to keep TRACK of
>the source.

You seem determined to pretend that by "source" the GPL means
"whatever you can compile to create the executable" when it clearly
says otehrwise.

>Don't confuse the source tree with metainformation, or you'll end up
>having
>to carry around inode information. Lest you think I'm joking,
>consider the
>fact that the original Crowther&Woods Adventure game was called
>'ADVENT.FOR',
>and the case and number of chars was actually significant
>information....

The test seems to be whether the metainformation is actually useful
in the process of making modifications or, to put it another way,
whether the people making such modifications prefer to have that
information. I would certainly prefer to have change history and
commit rationales. If the people who actually make most of the
modifications actually have access to and use that information in the
process of making modifications, I don't see how you can argue that
this information isn't part of the source as defined by the GPL.

Keeping the comments in a different file and claiming that's not
part of the source is completely equivalent to stripping the comments
from the source before you distribute it. The GPL doesn't permit
obfuscated source. "Just enough to compile it" isn't sufficient. It
requires the "preferred form" for making modifications. If this
actually includes design rationale documents, revision history, and
other such things, then they are part of the source.

The intent of the GPL seems to be to put "outside" developers on the
same footing as "inside" developers. Being able to withhold
development information that is actually useful for making
modifications seems to be prohibited.

This leaves interesting questions like how you can GPL a project
that includes signed components.

DS


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