[theme-reviewers] Minified CSS

Chip Bennett chip at chipbennett.net
Fri Feb 18 15:11:20 UTC 2011

Because "FSF interpretation" is not the same thing as "copyright law". Also,
"FSF free software philosophy" is not the same thing as "GNU GPL v2.1" (or
whichever version of the license we choose to discuss).

Here is the actual wording from the license itself (which is the only thing
legally binding:

*3.* You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under
Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1
and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:
*a)* *Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source
code*, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above
on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,*b)* Accompany it
with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third
party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source
distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source
code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a
medium customarily used for software interchange; or,*c)* Accompany it with
the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding
source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial
distribution and only if you received the program in object code or
executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

*The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making
modifications to it.* For an executable work, complete source code means all
the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface
definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and
installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source
code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in
either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel,
and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that
component itself accompanies the executable.

How the FSF "interprets" that, or how it coincides with their "philosophy",
is essentially irrelevant.

The "preferred form" for making modifications to CSS is a text file. Whether
or not that text file is easy to read is completely irrelevant to compliance
to the license under which that text file is distributed. The GPL does not
compel developers to add line breaks, whitespace, or any other manner of


On Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 9:03 AM, Austin Matzko <austin at pressedcode.com>wrote:

> On Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 8:52 AM, Chip Bennett <chip at chipbennett.net>
> wrote:
> > The preferred FILE FORMAT for CSS is text, and that is all that is
> required
> > by the GPL.
> How do you reconcile your interpretation with that of the FSF, which
> says "Therefore, accessibility of source code is a necessary condition
> for free software. Obfuscated “source code” is not real source code
> and does not count as source code."?  Also, I don't see anything in
> the GPL about "file formats."
> (I'm assuming that we agree that obfuscated source code can be
> distributed in the same "file format" as regular source: text.)
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