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Re: [debian-knoppix] GPL issues (Re: sources for Knoppix 4.02)


On Mon, Jul 03, 2006 at 11:41:54AM -0700, Ryan Finnie wrote:
> Klaus Knopper wrote:
> >Occasionally, someone from the FSF asks me for a source DVD of Knoppix
> >to check if I really comply to the "written statement" option (hey,
> >Vincent! ;-). Very few other people do, most of them companies who use
> >Knoppix as base for their own product, and who want to offer the same
> >"written agreement" option that I do. Most developers find it quicker to
> >get the CURRENT sources directly from the original Debian mirrors,
> >though they ARE entitled to old sources exactly matching the binaries of
> >the CD, directly from me, following §3 of the GPL.
> Does the FSF actually follow through in any cases?
> "Hi, can we get the sources for Knoppix?"
> "Yes, yes you can."
> "We don't actually want them, just asking."

No, they are quite serious about it, I had to send 4 CDs with sources,
and they really checked if the version numbers match, and if the content
is correct. Which I think is good. I'm fussy, too. ;-)

I got complaints in some cases about that sources for packages would be
missing, but after I pointed out that I do not have sources for packages
such as the "ipw2100-non-free" firmware and Java, and that these are not
GPL anyways, everybody seemed to be happy. In fact, you only need to
produce the source for packages that have a license (like the GPL) that
demands you to do so. BSD packages (Open Source) and everything
"non-free" (closed-source or not OSI) are not affected.

Something REALLY annoying is that in a few cases, the name and version
of the binary package does not match the name and version of the source
that produced the binary in Debian. My best guess is that there are
smetimes "manual" renames of binaries becaure of a versioning policy
between Debian and the original package version that I do not fully
understand yet. But anyways, in most cases, leaving an intermediate
"+WIP" or something like this, helps finding the correct source from the
Debian snapshot mirror.

> On the same note, do you have a method for downloading only updated 
> sources since the last release?  I use a script for Finnix that reads 
> /var/lib/dpkg/status and grabs the versions' sources (I can post this 
> script if anyone's interested), but it downloads the entire tree.

No, I always donwload the complete source and burn it to DVD for
achival. Also using some scripts, the Debian snapshot mirrors, and some
manual work for wrong source names (e2fstools is regularly wrongly

> It's 
> not too bad since it's only about 400MB for me, but a more efficient 
> method would be nice.

Uhm... About 2 new GB of sources for each Knoppix release for me. :-/
But better that I waste traffic on my own, rather than duplicating a
complete Debian snapshot source mirror.


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