On 3/12/07, Chad Perrin <perrin / apotheon.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 13, 2007 at 07:31:23AM +0900, Rick DeNatale wrote:
> > On 3/11/07, Chad Perrin <perrin / apotheon.com> wrote:

> > The more I think about this though, I'm not sure I want someone's
> > binaries without the source.  The thrust of the FSF and for that
> > matter the open source movement is *open source*, not gratis
> > distribution of binary software.  Having the source available with the
> > binaries also provides for at least a minimal audit trail to the
> > licensing terms of those binaries.  If you just download the binaries,
> > and you can't tie them to source, how to you as a user show that you
> > have a license to the software?
>
> How do you feel about people having a (legally protected) right to
> distribute Linux LiveCDs without having to push several CDs full of
> source code on the recipients at the same time?

That's not requred by the GPL, the requirement is that if you
distribute such a live CD, you need to make the source used to create
it available. You don't need to deliver it concurrently.

> There's a difference between downloading software with the source
> available, then later finding that the source for that exact version of
> the binary went away, and downloading software when no source is
> available.  I don't believe that conflating the two situations helps
> clear up the legal ramifications of the situation at all.

So stop conflating them, the GPL doesn't.

> > The real selling proposition of open-source is that it provides better
> > protection to the person or organization using the software that it
> > will continue to be available and maintainable.  If only the binaries
> > are available, due either to neglect by or the future absense of the
> > distributor, this advantage is lost.  Witness the recent suggestions
> > for a 'living will' for the owner of an open source project, it's
> > motivated by the same idea which is to keep the project alive past the
> > disinterest or the demise of the originators.
>
> In practice, the source of BSD-licensed software is as easily available
> as the source of GPLed software, generally speaking.  If the source
> disappears, however, you now can't do anything with the binary at all,
> except continue to use it -- and, at that point, you have to ensure you
> don't accidentally "distribute" it sans source.  That's my point.

The strength of the GPL here is that it requires mechanisms to ensure
that the source continues to remain available.

> > >Of course, I find both annoyingly limited in applicability to a single
> > >form of copyrightable work, and the BSD license's applicability to
> > >derivative works is ambiguous.  I still prefer the BSD license over the
> > >GPL, especially considering recent examples of the FSF threatening legal
> > >action against small community Linux distributions for debatable
> > >violations of GPL terms.
> >
> > Or one could view it as a wake-up call that keeping open-source open
> > requires distributing open source.
>
> A social revolution loses some ethical purity when enforced at the point
> of a gun -- and that's what the law is: a gun to one's head.

Another way of looking at it is that the law is a tool for protecting
the interests of people in society.  The GPL is carefully crafted with
knowledge of global intellectual property law, so as to protect the
right to distribute software with the assurance that others will have
the right to run, modify, and redistribute it in a way such that those
rights will be preserved.

And we've probably argued this to the point where most who hang out
here are no longer interested, if they ever were. ;-)

-- 
Rick DeNatale

My blog on Ruby
http://talklikeaduck.denhaven2.com/