[gobolinux-users] Source repositories and other suggestions

Andy Feldman nereusren at gmail.com
Sat Nov 25 02:01:48 UTC 2006


On 11/24/06, Michael Homer <gobo-users-dufus at wotfun.com> wrote:
> The problem is that
> somebody who's already obtained the binaries by any means needs to be
> able to obtain the source to them in perpetuity.

I checked the GPL because I thought perpetuity sounded a bit
extreme... 3 years is the actual requirement, which means your point
is still completely valid: simply removing the binaries from the store
is not sufficient. I stand corrected.

Here's the relevant section:

3.  You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
under Section 2) in object code or executable form [...] provided that
you also do one of the following:
[...]    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 [...]

> On 11/25/06, Andy Feldman <nereusren at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Which is why I suggested we have a backup server with source archives,
> > which we can make available--*if* we want to continue using that
> > binary package after original source disappears. More likely, I'm
> > guessing we would simply stop shipping an unmaintained program.
> Unless you can do it automatically, that isn't really going to cut it,
> although it's probably good enough in practice.

"Good enough in practice" is all I was going for, but you've convinced
me that just cutting off binary distribution isn't even good enough
for that. (That is, if I were the one taking responsibility for the
potential copyright violation, I wouldn't be comfortable with it).

I still think my suggestion of a source archive, to be manually and
individually made available if there is a request for a Program's
source, satisfies part B of the section I quoted above. The only other
change once such an archive is established would be to "accompany [the
binaries] with a written offer" on the CD and in each downloadable
package.

Give it a read and see if you agree: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html#SEC3

Of course, offering the full source code archive for download would
also clearly satisfy the terms, and it has been requested at least a
few times before (as a feature rather than as a license issue), so
maybe the devs will want to do that at some point anyway.

-Andy


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