On 3/13/07, Chad Perrin <perrin / apotheon.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 13, 2007 at 11:03:19PM +0900, Rick DeNatale wrote:
> > 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:

> > >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.
>
> No . . . but it's *easier* to distribute it immediately, for a single
> lone individual, than to maintain a publicly-available point of contact
> with source code archives and redundant backups for a period of no less
> than three years' time after the date of the last binary distribution of
> the software.

It's often easier to do all kinds of things which are either illegal,
or in this case breach a contract.

Let me point out a case where the GPL did some good.  When Linksys put
out the WRT-54G router, they 'neglected' to tell anyone that the
firmware was based on linux and other open source GPL licensed
software.  That fact came to light when a hacker discovered a security
hole in one of the diagnostic pages which allowed execution of shell
commands by clever manipulation of an input field for a ping address.

When this was discovered, pressure on LinkSys to honor their license
under the GPL led to the release of the source code which led in turn
to community based software, like OpenWRT, for that and other similar
wireless routers.

You seem to be ignoring my point which is that the GPL does not
require source code to be packages with a live CD or any other
packaging, only that such a distribution tell the recipient where the
source code can be obtained.

> Your objection is a bit like saying that if you get an
> infected cut, you don't have to use Bactine or iodine on it -- you can
> always just saw off your arm.  Thank you, Doctor, I think I'd rather use
> Bactine, or *not get cut*.

I don't follow the analogy,

    cut = distribute GPL binaries?
    infection = have to distribute source?
    bactine = distribute source?
    saw off your arm = ????

I wasn't actually objecting to anything, I was trying to answer your
question about LiveCDs by pointing out that the GPL doesn't require
bundling source code, which seemed to be your implication.

> >
> > >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.
>
> . . .
>
> In light of the history of this discussion, that's pure sophistry.
> Thank you for divesting my statement of any context, then reversing my
> meaning.  Congratulations.

 I THOUGHT that your statement starting with "There's a difference
between downloading software.." was restating your opinion that the
GPL required distribution of source whenever binaries were
distributed, and that this was the conflation.  Re-reading it I now
realize that I don't even understand what that statement means.

> > >> 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.
>
> . . . and the weakness of it (as I said) is that in many cases the GPL's
> requirements impose a minimum limit on the resources one must have
> available to distribute software.  Those mechanisms often are not free
> (as in beer).

And the GPL is not about making software free as in beer, it's about
making software free as in freedom.

You are free to use GPL software as you wish. If you create a
derivative work, you must not distribute that derivative work without
also making all of the GPL source code needed to compile that
derivative work available.

The argument against following the GPL license terms seems to me to be
something like arguing that one should be able to live in a
jurisdiction and be selective in which of the laws of that community
one obeys.  It might be more convenient NOT to pay taxes, but...

Now I've gotten your point that YOU prefer the BSD license. That's
your right.  My only goal has been to clear up some misconceptions
about what the GPL requires, and has always required, and what it
doesn't require.

-- 
Rick DeNatale

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