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Source Code

From Definition of Free Cultural Works
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Source code is a delicate question to tackle in the broad context of free contents. For example, the GNU GPL defines it as "the preferred form of the work for making modifications to [the work]". Indeed, source code is of primary importance for many kinds of works (especially software).

But there are also situations where the idea of source code appears irrelevant or even meaningless. Consider a digital recording of a modern rock concert. How do we define "source code" ? No symbolic or textual transcription of the concert will be able to describe exactly (so as to reproduce accurately) the manner in which the guitarist picked the strings of his instruments, the slight variations in pitch or tempo of the singer, etc.

Even if no "source code" can be made available for such a work, it would be counter-productive to qualify it as "non-free" if it satisfies to the other freedoms of free content.

Thus, let's define a criterion for knowing when source code is mandatory:

  • When the work or part of it is generated by computation from a modifiable structured form (e.g. textual), this modifiable structured form is called source code. It must be made available to recipients of the work.

== ==方面的探討

  • 的結構:它可以訪問結構的工作(例如,一OpenDocument的文件可以訪問該文件的結構,而不是一個 PDF文件)
  • 修改的:其格式可以方便地修改(包括修改結構)
  • 計算:不涉及任何創造性的行為從一人


Of course, the source code must satisfy the freedoms of free content as well. Therefore, by recursion, our definition is not weaker than the one in the GNU GPL


  • software source code
  • editable text (raw text, XML, word processor files...)
  • vector graphics files
  • tablatures, lyrics
  • multitracks from an audio recording
  • ...