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Re: Heads up, slight tree path change

On Wed, 29 Aug 2007 21:26:11 -0500
Douglas McClendon <dmc fedora filteredperception org> wrote:

> I wasn't really concerned with the issue of source matching binaries
> on a fedora derivative that _differ_ from the binaries that are in
> fedora proper.  That will no doubt only represent a very small
> fraction of the derivative distribution.  What I am worried about is
> whether there is any legal requirement for the deriver, to host the
> same sources that fedora is already hosting.  I believe that
> somewhere in the thread above, is the suggestion that a derivative
> distro, if not wanting to be obliged to host *all* the source rpms,
> must get some sort of explicit written promise from the upstream
> distro, that the upstream distro will host the source rpms for X
> amount of time (where X==3years?).

GPL wants "No less than 3 years".

> The whole reason the slashdot thread was interesting, is because it
> is rather strange to begin with, since one would assume that the
> upstream provider already has the legal obligation.  I suspect the
> issue was to prevent a scenario where an upstream provider goes
> belly-up/disappears, and then the downstream deriver that didn't
> bother to mirror a copy, cannot legally satisfy their own obligations
> under the GPL.
> IANAL, so I may be completely butchering the issue.

There are multiple ways to distribute the binaries (and source) under
the GPL. You either deliver it at the same time as you deliver the

a)  Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1
and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

b)  Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years,
to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of
physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable
copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the
terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for
software interchange; or,

c)  Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to
distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only
for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in
object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with
Subsection b above.)

Right now, Fedora does A.  That means that when we make the binary go
away, we can make the source go away too.  Otherwise we'd be on the
hook to keep hosting the sources to every binary we release for no less
than 3 years time.

What you're asking to do is c), include the forwarded promise that
Fedora made to you.  It's not clear to me how to handle cases where
it's near the end of year 3 of the original promise, yet you do a "new"
binary release of your distribution including the notice.  The notice
is only good for say another year, do you have to some how extend that
to 3 years?

By far, the easiest to use and comply with is A), and that's what
Fedora chooses to do, therefor we aren't already obligated to keep
anything around for any amount of time other than for as long as the
binaries are available.

Jesse Keating
Fedora -- All my bits are free, are yours?

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