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Re: [RFC] Modification history as a source code

On Thursday, Jun 19, 2003, at 13:38 US/Eastern, Dmitry Borodaenko wrote:

NB: quotations are reordered by argument.

On Wed, Jun 18, 2003 at 02:22:19PM -0400, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
 DB>> The issue of storage is more controversial, all I can give is my
 DB>> personal opinion that it is fair to expect that creators keep
 DB>> track of at least their own work,
 AD> I don't think its reasonable to expect me to keep track of every
 AD> single change I've ever made;

Did you notice that I limit this to _published_ modifications?

Sorry, I missed that. However, I've certainly sent various people random patches (is that published?); sent various things to mailing lists, the bts, etc.

I sure haven't kept track of them. It'd be a major hassle to do so.

I think adding the same condition as in GPL 3(b) would solve this
problem in the same way: 3 years is certainly less than "forever minus 1

Well, then there isn't a way to gather the source code for the work after three years: Various authors no longer keep their changes; the links fall dead.

 AD> (Just imagine that every time you patched XFree, you had to keep
 AD> the entire XFree tree around. Ouch.)

There is difference between full copies of each version and revision
history (e.g. CVS repository).

Well, a CVS repository for XFree would still be huge. I assume you mean I could chose to only keep patches around?

 Everyone already uses version control

No, not everyone. There are certainly a lot of little changes I don't bother importing to my CVS repository. I make the change, compile, and then often send a mail to submit@b.d.o. That's certainly published.

this would just make it required by a license. Technically, GPL
creates similar requirement of using the source instead of hacking on

Where does the GPL prohibit binary patching?

Where did I say that? Does GPL require that source is available "in the
same network-accessible location"? It just has to be available.

If there is to be any hope whatsoever of assembling source from all those pointers, I think it has to be network accessible.

 AD> I don't think a free license can require much more than "if you
 AD> distribute this, give source under the same terms." It certainly
 AD> can't require me to spend an indefinite amount of money keeping
 AD> stuff around years after I'm dead.

The only difference between source as a source code and source as a
revision history is size,

If you required me to distribute as original source + patches, I could maybe accept that. But my obligation should end there.

If GPL 3(a) were not there (leaving only 3(b) and (3c)) then that would not be a free license, IMO.

and money spent is
finite and marginal in comparison with effort and money spent on
producing the modification in question.

The storage space may be. The network bandwidth may be. The effort organizing it (and fulfilling requests) probably isn't, at least for small works.

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