[sldev] GPL issues....

Henri Beauchamp sldev at free.fr
Tue Aug 19 01:45:54 PDT 2008


On Tue, 19 Aug 2008 09:46:17 +0200, Ambrosia wrote:

> From the GPL:
> 
> 'Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
>     source code...'

Of course, with the "printed paper" sources, I was exaggerating to show
how far one could go with the GPL, but nonetheless, printed paper is also
machine readable (there are excellent text scanners around)...

In some exceptional cases (in some countries with oppressing governements,
or where sharing some type of knowledge with foreign countries is forbidden
by the Law) it is the only way to share some software sources.

An example ?... Take PGP: in the past (before GPG existed), the US Law
did forbid the exportation of source code containing high quality
cryptographic algorithms (those that the US government could not break...)
to the foreign countries... Well, the sources did make their way out...
via snail mail and printed paper copies !
I honestly don't remember if PGP was GPL or not, but it's one example
where printed paper would definitely be the "preferred form" (as
quoted from the GPL).

> 'If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering
> access to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent
> access to copy the source code from the same place counts as
> distribution of the source code'
> 
> Actually Henri, Gareth is right. You need to provide the original
> sources of the whole application with your patches, (or everything
> with your changes) in full.

First, Gareth is wrong by pretending I need to provide the _patched_
sources.

Second, I do provide the source tarball in the "same place", as required
by the GPL. This 'same place' is Internet, and more accurately, the web.

Should I provide the binaries on a CD-ROM, I would have to provide the
sources tarball in the "same place" to (i.e. on the CD-ROM).

Again, and for the last time, the GPL never imposed that the binary
and the code would be held on the same server on Internet !

What would be the use of duplicating the sources on each website
providing patches to the viewer, given the sources are already
available in two places on Internet (the SL wiki, and LL's SVN Track) ?

Taking again the CD-ROM example above, it would be like providing
the source tarball in several folders of a single CD-ROM (i.e. providing
several copies in the "same place" (the CD-ROM)...).

> Now, I will not make any assumptions about how he approached the
> matter, but I don't like how this whole thing turned out, not at all.
> I will leave further thoughts to myself tho.
> 
> I'm offering to host your viewer and binaries in full on my ftp.

That's a very kind offer, but I decline it: I prefer to have full
control of my website and not rely on someone's else good will and
disponibility. For a start, with my own website I can do anything
I want without any restriction (but the total file size quota), such
as, for example, retreiving the full statistics for this site.

Again, there is *no need* for me to bother providing LL's original
tarball.

This is my last message on this list about this issue. If you don't
agree with it, please take the discussion to the appropriate place.
Also, be sure that Linden Lab got an army of lawyers: I don't
think they need any "GPL fanatic" such as Gareth to pinpoint and
solve by themselves the violations to the license of the viewer.

Regards,

Henri.


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