Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Duncan <1i5t5.duncan@×××.net>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o
Subject: [gentoo-dev] Re: Re: GPL and Source code providing
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 21:02:52
Message-Id: e8430m$rv1$1@sea.gmane.org
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-dev] Re: GPL and Source code providing by "Kevin F. Quinn"
"Kevin F. Quinn" <kevquinn@g.o> posted
20060629001752.01c9e617@×××××××××××××××××.com, excerpted below, on  Thu,
29 Jun 2006 00:17:52 +0200:

> On Wed, 28 Jun 2006 21:20:00 +0200 > Maurice van der Pot <griffon26@g.o> wrote: > >> On Wed, Jun 28, 2006 at 07:54:12PM +0200, Kevin F. Quinn wrote: >> > You don't have to do this >> > for binary files copied from a Gentoo Live CD, as in that case >> > you're a third party (like a courier, or the postman) and can can >> > simply refer back to Gentoo. >> >> According to the FSF you need to provide the sources also for things >> you did not modify (see the link ciaran provided), because you are >> redistributing those binaries and distribution means you have to >> provide sources yourself. It is not enough to refer to other parties, >> because those other parties can take their sources offline and you >> will still have to provide your users with the sources if/when they >> want them. > > I was thinking about what they say here: > > http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#TOCWhatDoesWrittenOfferValid > > which implies that if someone receives binaries from a third party, > it's the original distributor that has to honour the offer (said offer > being distributed/forwarded with the binaries). > > In particular clause 3c of the license permits non-commercial > distribution of binary code without source code provided the offer from > the originator accompanies the binaries: > > ---- except from http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt > 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,
This is what most distributions do (including Gentoo AFAIK). This is fine because as long as the binaries are provided, so are the sources. The binaries are not available from the provider except where sources are available, and the sources can come down at the same time as the binaries (no 3-year minimum availability).
> 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.) > ----
Note that the 3c exception SPECIFICALLY only applies to those with an upstream using 3b. Most modern distributions prefer 3a to 3b, in part because they don't want to have to worry about the 3-year minimum of 3b. The problem here is a time-sync issue. Gentoo isn't responsible for downstream, and by choosing 3a, only has to distribute sources as long as it distributes binaries. It's quite conceivable that downstream will still be distributing the unmodified-source binaries long after upstream (Gentoo in our case) ceases to distribute them, and therefore has ceased distributing sources as well. To ensure sources continue to be available and comply with the GPL, therefore, the downstream supplier must provide sources under 3a or 3b themselves, even if non-commercial, if upstream uses 3a, because the 3c exception only applies to 3b. However, as I said in my earlier post, this shouldn't be the issue it's being made out to be. Simply keeping a tarballed copy of the sources somewhere, available to burn and mail on request, suffices, if 3b is chosen. Because few worry about sources and because a fee covering physical costs may be charged further discouraging non-serious requests, it's unlikely that more than a handful (if that) of requests will actually ever be made. Alternatively, if the 3-year thing is a worry, ensure they are always available under 3a, so at the same time (and often in the same format) as the binaries is also coverage. In either case, since Gentoo is already source-based clear out to the user, managing the sources is even easier with Gentoo than in the case of a binary-based upstream distribution, where tracking separate source packages would be required. -- Duncan - List replies preferred. No HTML msgs. "Every nonfree program has a lord, a master -- and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman -- gentoo-dev@g.o mailing list

Replies

Subject Author
Re: [gentoo-dev] Re: Re: GPL and Source code providing "Kevin F. Quinn" <kevquinn@g.o>