Re: MPL and Source Code
On Sun, 02 Apr 2006 19:28:26 -0700
Josh Triplett <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> > On Sun, Apr 02, 2006 at 08:54:53PM +1000, Craig Southeren wrote:
> >> A problem would only occur if there was a Debian release that contained
> >> source code that is is not in the SVN archive. Does this ever occur?
> > Security updates and NMU's come to mind.
> As do non-Debian distributors and CDDs, who can currently rely on the
> fact that if they mirror/distribute source along with binaries, they
> satisfy all relevant licensing requirements. Furthermore, any CDD
> modifying Debian packages could not rely on Debian's SVN repository.
If Debian is not ensuring that all source code for it's distribution is
publically available via it's archives, then I agree that this is not
only a problem for Debian, but it is definitaly a problem for downstream
repackagers who rely on this.
Debian (and any other distro packager for that matter) can decide to
repackage whatever Open Source work they choose, and they can do this
without consulting the original author because this is one of the
specific freedoms that an Open Source license provides.
But the same licenses that provide this freedom requires the distributor
to make the source code available for the appropriate period regardless
of what the upstream developer does.
You can't have one without the other.
> Also, if you ever stopped maintaining the software, and some other
> maintainer wanted to work on it, they would then need to make use of a
> version control system or similar mechanism as well. If a license said
> "you must develop the software in a version control system", I don't
> think we'd quibble over its non-freeness; this requirement constrains
> development practices only slightly less.
I would agree that a license requiring the use of a version control
system could be classified an unnecessarily onerous. Fortunately, I
don't think any such license exists :)
But I also don't think that anyone would argue that maintaining source
code in a VCS fails to fulfill requirement of making the source code
available as required by most Open Source license, provided of course
that the repository is accessible using freely available tools.
> I think "any mirror operator, CD distributor, system distributor, or
> other distributor of Debian could face a lawsuit if Debian's systems go
> down or Debian stops distributing source" falls pretty clearly on the
> non-free side.
This would appear to be a problem that applies to any Open Source work
that is distributed in binary form, and not on physical media. For
example, the GPL requires a distributor to provide source code on demand
for up to three years (see 3b) if the code is distrbuted in binary form.
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