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Re: Ubuntu CDs contain no sources

cascardo@minaslivre.org wrote:
In my opinion, distributing in a medium customarily used for software
interchange and offering access to copy from a designated place are
not the same thing. Mainly because you cannot be sure the source code
is properly distributed. You should make sure the person has the
access to your host, which may not be true due to a number of reasons.

Some user's request for source CDs might get lost in the post. Life is hard.

On the side of the reasoning for this interpretation not to be of
interest to users (which I consider a good way to reason about the
spirit of the GPL), and for a practical reason for the one
distributing the binaries, you mean everybody could distribute a copy
of the CD and point to the same website as the location of the
> Would the resources in the host serving this website be
> enough to people have their intended access to the source code? Would
> the people doing the distribution of copies risk an unavailability of
> such host as interpreted by the person receiving the software as not
> distributing the source? Would the host serving the website be willing
> to be pointed to by every such distributor instead of being mirrored
> by him?

The GPL covers this: if you point people towards some third-party's URL, it's this third-party that's distributing the source, not you*. This means that it's not 'you' who 'also do[es] one of the following', and thus you don't get granted any rights by the GPL.

/Debian/ pointing to Debian's main repository is enough for the GPL, and is even sufficient to fulfil 'offering equivalent access to copy the source code from the same place'. Because it does this, Debian does not need to make an offer under 3b, which means people wanting to distribute under 3c have no offer from Debian to pass on. IIRC several Debian-based live CDs have got in trouble for doing this.

Thus, I would not consider my sources being properly distributed to
someone if they are only pointed to an URL.
If you want to guarantee distribution of source over and above what the GPL's requires, you're probably going to have to write your own license (bearing in mind that it will not be compatible with the GPL's 'You may not impose any further restrictions').

* Unless have an arrangement with this third-party to host the source for you, in which case they're your agent.
Lewis Jardine

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