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bug#25443: Unnecessary building of dictionary files

From: Phillip Lord
Subject: bug#25443: Unnecessary building of dictionary files
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:57:08 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.1.91 (gnu/linux)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

> [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]
>   > I find myself in the bizarre position of suggesting that you haven't
>   > read the GPL properly...
> Before asserting that someone experienced is totally confused,
> I suggest you double-check your own reasoning.

It was just a light-hearted aside. I did say "bizarre", and didn't say
"totally confused".

>   > The "source" files in question are no longer distributed.
> It is premature to put quotes around "source".  You are arguing that
> we have the option of making something else the real source code,
> but we haven't done so yet.  At present, those files are the source code.
> You say they are "no longer distributed".  That can't be entirely true,
> since the GNU Project does still distribute them.

Indeed. They are distributed as part of Emacs, but not available from
their referenced source.

> Would you please lay out the facts that you are talking about?
> Pressuring for a particular decision is not being helpful.
> Please show us the situation clearly so we can see what is right to do.

Yes. A file (CTLau.html) which looks like this....

<title>CTLau : Hanzi input by Cantonese transcription (Lau style)
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=gb2312">
<body bgcolor=#ffc0c0><pre>
# CTLau.html : Hanzi (GB2312-80) input dictionary for Sidney Lau's


# Revision History:
# This file was originally converted in 1993 from a hanzi input file
# based on Fung Fung Lee's Cantonese phonetic transcription scheme
# proposed in 1988 (http://umunhum.stanford.edu/~lee/chicomp/CPS.html).
# This file was released under the terms of GNU GPL on May 14, 2001.
A 阿啊鸦呀丫哑亚吖氩锕
AAI 埃挨嗌哎唉隘嗳
AAN 晏俺

Is reformated to look like this (CTLau.el):

;; Quail package ‘chinese-ctlau’
;;   Generated by the command ‘miscdic-convert’
("a" "阿啊鸦呀丫哑亚吖氩锕")
("aai" "埃挨嗌哎唉隘嗳")
("aan" "晏俺")

AFAICT, we cannot update CTLau.html from a downstream source any
longer. And either way, it has not been updated since 2001, except for a
change to formatted in the licence comments.

>   > The "source" files in question are no longer distributed. So, any future
>   > changes would have to come from the emacs developers. If we decided that
>   > the .el files are the place to make these changes, then, they become the
>   > "preferred form for modification". They become "the real source". I see
>   > nothing in the GPL that prevents us from making this change.
> In principle, that is a possible option.  Whether it is a good idea
> is another question.
> There is no grave problem here.  Let's see what Handa-san says
> about this technical question.

The reason that this came up is that the generation of CTLau.html has to
be performed by "bootstrap-emacs", as the lisp needs to be available
before "emacs" is dumped. Keeping the work performed by bootstrap-emacs
as simple as possible is a useful aim.

>   > Unless you mean "an obligation" in some sense other than "because of the
>   > GPL".
> Anyone distributing software has a moral obligation to distribute the
> real souce code.

I agree with this position, but I see no moral or ethical issue in
changing our minds about what the real source code is. I have raised a
technical question; I think it only needs a technical answer. If it is
going to cause any issues for maintainence of leim, then, of course,
it's a bad idea.


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