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Re: Ubuntu CDs contain no sources

On Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 12:13:08AM +0000, Lewis Jardine wrote:
> 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.

Well, when they have requested and are paying for it as in GPL 3b, I
guess the distributor (who have only distributed the binary for the
first time) will have some trouble and should send another source
CDs. Accompanying the sources as in 3a is always safer. 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
> >sources. 
> > 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.

Which situation is this? I'm considering when you distribute the
binaries withoug accompanying complete source code or a third-party
written offer as in 3c. I was responding to someone who considered
distribution of source code as in 3a when you simply pointed out an
URL in your package containing the binaries and only the binaries.

> /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.

Sure! Debian makes its job offering access to copy the sources from
its repositories. But most people distributing Debian-based live CDs
or mirrors are not respecting the GPL. Simply pointing to Debian main
repositories is not enough to satisfy the GPL.

> >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').

Distributing the sources as required by the GPL is enough for me, as
long as you don't think simply including an URL in the docs means
source distribution or a equivalent offer when you didn't offered to
make a copy of the binaries from the same place.

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

I am not a lawyer nor a Debian developer either.
Thadeu Cascardo

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