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Re: Firefox themes as Art files - ADDENDUM

From: Giuseppe Scrivano
Subject: Re: Firefox themes as Art files - ADDENDUM
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2009 13:29:44 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.96 (gnu/linux)

al3xu5 / dotcommon <address@hidden> writes:

> "after a discussion we had on IRC (I catch this occasion to announce the
> #icecat channel on the freenode.net network), it seems that themes
> could be considered "Arts" and it is not a problem if they are
> non-free."
> and my criticism was in particular about this: 
> "it is not a problem if they are *non-free*"
> I do not see problems if themes, images, css and more are released with
> a truly free license

I think everybody here agrees that themes distributed with a free
license are not a problem.  What we are trying to understand if non-free
ones are a problem or not.

> GNU/FSF have a 'Free Art License' specific for artistic works
> [http://artlibre.org/licence/lalgb.html] 
> which have all fredoms: such a license, for example, would be perfect
> for aesthetic data

AFAIK, it is not a FSF license.

We don't impose the license to other software/themes/whatever,
fortunately.  If non-free themes can be used without break our rules
then it is not important if they are using a FSF license or not.

  "We don't take the position that artistic or entertainment works must
   be free, but if you want to make one free, we recommend the Free Art
   License."  [http://www.gnu.org/licenses/]

> - css ARE CODE, and may contain not only 'artistic' directives for the
>   page layout but also, for example, code to display floating menus, or
>   code to hide/unhide some parts of the page, or code to manage
>   printing... how can you decide if the css code in a theme is just art
>   or not?

It is not so evident.

>From http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/javascript-trap.htm:

  "JavaScript (officially called ECMAscript, but few use that name) was
   once used for minor frills in web pages, such as cute but inessential
   navigation and display features. It was acceptable to consider these
   as mere extensions of HTML markup, rather than as true software; they
   did not constitute a significant issue."

Even trivial non-free JavaScript programs are not considered an issue
but an extension of HTML.  Usually, code inside CSS is just define some
event callbacks, can it be really considered code?

> - a standalone theme do not work: it works only when you load it to
>   become an extension of the browser, a functional part of the
>   software... so themes MUST be consider software

If themes can be considered artwork, then I think that it is not
important how they are loaded or used.

> - if we do not consider to be free all the artwork included in a
>   software, then the same shuold be done for all logos, icons, colours,
>   buttons, etc.???


OT: Some people still think that IceCat was born because Firefox has a
trademark.  I personally think that it is a good thing.

> why just protect users freedom? would not be better trying to expand
> users freedom?
> and why just do it regarding software code?

Because non-free artworks aren't a real problem.  If somebody thinks
they are then this discussion is not related only to the GNUzilla
project but to GNU.

>> They looks like half way between software and artwork.
> I do not think so: themes do nothing if standalone. they work only if
> loaded into the browser to become a functional (not only aesthetic)
> piece of it

Can they embed executable code?  Only in this case they are a functional
piece and not only aesthetic part.  In this case they must be checked
one-by-one, if a theme consists only of images then it is not a
functional part.

>> Surely we can't advise non-free software but at the same time we can't
>> be blind and say no to everything.  If the FSF says that aesthetic
>> data can be included, until it can be freely copied and distributed
>> then I assume there are good reasons to say so.  If themes can be
>> considered aesthetic data only then I don't see good reasons to don't
>> advise them.
> me too if they are released with a truly free licence!
> but surely NOT if they are *non-free*!!!

Still this discussion is open, we can't say if they are or not.

>> Are there good examples of themes that can't be considered only
>> artwork?
> as you can understand from what I have previous said, I do not think
> this is the point...

> let me add another observation:
> suppose I am a visually handicapped and daltonian person 
> suppose there is is a theme good for me: it has large icons and some
> functionalities (included by the css theme) that works well to me
> now suppose I nedd to change the icons colours (i ma daltonian) to be
> able to see them well... BUT i can not do this becouse the theme
> is released with a license wich do not permit any artwork
> modifications...
> how can this a way to protect users freedom?

I agree that free artwork is desiderable but we can't enforce people to
do it.  Some people would like that theme as it is and use without
problems, why deny them to do it?


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