brainstorming: which formats to use and which to avoid

Frank Heckenbach frank at
Wed Jun 13 02:37:18 UTC 2001

Jaime E . Villate wrote:

> That reminds me of a program I once used, whose author claimed it was free
> because its C code was distributed in the tarball. When I wanted to make a
> change I realized the C code had been obtained from flex, and the author would
> not release the flex source file!

That's, of course, why GPL defines source as "the preferred form of
the work for making modifications to it" and not as C code or

The same can happen with most other formats: HTML as the notorious
example; any pixel graphic format as well as PS, PDF and more which
can be generated from, say xfig source, etc. ...

So there's a difference between distributing sources and using an
open format -- any data in an open format can have been generated by
some program (by definition, since the openness implies that it must
be possible to write programs to generate this format from something


Frank Heckenbach, frank at
PGP and GPG keys:

More information about the Discussion mailing list