[wp-hackers] How obfuscated code can respect GPLv2

Andy Skelton skeltoac at gmail.com
Wed Jul 7 18:02:11 UTC 2010

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

Nobody prefers to work on code in obfuscated, minified, or otherwise
unreadable form. Thus the "source code", that which is human-readable,
must also be distributed. That doesn't mean you are compelled to
include the human-readable source code in the download:

"If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering
access to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent
access to copy the source code from the same place counts as
distribution of the source code, even though third parties are not
compelled to copy the source along with the object code."

Obfuscated code is "executable" and not "source code". It would
suffice to place the executable's source code in the repository. This
is likewise true for minified code; we don't have to include the dev
files in the download. If we remove them, we should simultaneously
begin to offer a "dev download" so that svn is not a prerequisite for
hacking the source.

The blue pill gag is old enough that we can dispense with the
obfuscation. At the very least, its source code must be published, at
least to the svn repository linked to the download page.

In future, we must not commit obfuscated code without also committing
source code so that it is available for download.

I don't see any material harm in the violation. But it does slightly
soil our reputation and we should come clean and do better.


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