On Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 04:50:51PM +1000, Adrian Colomitchi wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 3:15 PM, Ben Finney <
> ben+freesoftw...@benfinney.id.au> wrote:
> 
> > Adam Bolte <abo...@systemsaviour.com>
> > writes:
> >
> > > Once again, your definition conflicts with what the legal Free
> > > Dictionary appears to be (linked above). A PDF is generally a product
> > > of a computer program - not a computer program itself.
> >
> > You're aware that PDF data is an executable program in (a limited subset
> > of) the PostScript programming language? Every PDF document is rendered
> > by *running the program* in an interpreter. Every PDF is both a document
> > and a program.
> >
> > > I suppose that next you're going to say that this e-mail is an
> > > executable program as well?
> >
> > No, because it is not normally executed in order to render it. A PDF
> > *must* be executed to render it. Every PDF is both a program and a
> > document.
> >
> Yes, it is. Reading an email (or any text) is conceptually in no way
> different than reading a PDF. (that is: unless you chose to read it
> straight from the storage media).
> Take for instance an "HTML mail" - isn't there need to be an "HTML
> interpreter" to read the email? (well, of course you call it "renderer" or
> "formatter", but in essence this is what the "HTML formatter" will do: it
> will "interpret" the HTML of your email body to render your "human
> readable" image of the email).
>
> Mind you: while PS/PDF is "formatted" as "scripts in an imperative
> programming language" (a Forth derivative), it doesn't make any "scripts in
> a descriptive programming language" a "non-program" (that is: data only).
> I argue that, in essence, the read an ASCII text on the display, there need
> to be an "ASCII interpreter" to transform the ASCII/ANSI bytes of the text
> in the groups of lit pixels which make the sense to you (a human) as
> "readable glyphs".
>
> BTW, I argue the same is valid in reverse: the source-code of an
> application is nothing but data, unless you choose to "launch it into
> execution" - without he help of the OS (and potentially the "build tools"),
> the source-code is in no way different than a "piece of literature".  For
> example, if one chooses so, one may write a "C to music-score
> transpiler<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source-to-source_compiler>"
> and interpret that source code as music (and consider the source code as
> "interpretative art").
> 
> Where does it let the FDL issue at hand? I don't know... but my point is:
> probably one need to abandon the track of "what you technically need to
> consume those bytes" and substitute it with (or, at least, supplement it
> with) considerations based on the "nature of the intended consumption" to
> deal with the "documentation vs application" differences.

Those are good points, and I feel that your conclusion is quite
reasonable. However, making assumptions about the nature of the
intended consumption is one of the fundamental disagreements Ben seems
to have with the FDL.

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