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Re: [debian-knoppix] Knoppix source and the GPL

On Thu, Apr 03, 2003 at 01:25:04PM +0200, Valentijn Sessink wrote:
> Hello List,
> I have the following problem. As some of you might have noticed, I'm working
> on a changed version of Knoppix - as many of you are. This goes well.
> However, as lots of the software included is GPL'ed, I need to be able to
> provide sources for this CD.
> The GPL says (in Section 3) that one either:
> 1) accompanies the binaries with machine readable source code
> 2) accompanies the binaries with a written offer to send the source code
> 3) accompanies the binaries with information about a written offer that *you*
> received to provide the source code, but this can only be done when you
> *did* receive a written offer as seen under "2" *and* you distribute
> non-commercial software packages.
> Now the problem is that Knoppix contains a lot of binaries *that do not have
> sources anymore* - or at least I can't find them, but more specifically does
> not offer the sources in any way. I know I sound a bit like a nit-picker and
> this is absolutely not what I mean to be, and I'm absolutely positive that
> this is not a GPL breach in the broad sense, but when you take the GPL
> literally (which is probably at least what you should try when it's about
> legal documents), the impossibility to provide sources is a breach of the
> GPL.


> For the 2003-03-30 .ISO, stats are better: 194 missing packages. However,
> this still means that about 20% of the Knoppix distro is not conforming to
> the license.

Wrong. Read paragraph 3 again. The written offer is in the directory
KNOPPIX on the CD, in multiple languages. If you REALLY don't manage
to find sources for the Debian packages (btw, you could just have
downloaded newer versions of the packages that usually contain the
original source and diffs), just send me 4 empty CD-Rs with a return
envelope and I will send you the sources that you want. This is,
as stated in the written offer, valid for 3 years from the release date
of the individual CD.

This part of the GPL has been mostly used by lawyers and
GPL-literal-interpretation-fanatics so far. The rest of us still
can find the sources they need on the internet, you just have to look
around for a while if you absolutely want to get obsolete sources for
old programs.

Some programs on the CD are NOT GPL, which is absolutely possible:
You may have, as separate programs, GPL and non-GPL programs on the same
medium. For those programs (i.e. acroread and Java), I can't provide
sources and I really don't have to. ;-)

Klaus Knopper                           Technical Solutions & Finances
knopper@linuxtag.org                          http://www.linuxtag.org/
Phone +49-(0)631-3109371                        Fax +49-(0)631-3109372
LinuxTag 2003 - Europes largest Linux Expo       Where .com meets .org
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