GPL compliance

ubuntu at ubuntu at
Fri Jun 30 15:24:13 UTC 2006

Daniel Carrera wrote:
> On Fri, 2006-30-06 at 16:35 +0200, Alexander Skwar wrote:
>> I disagree. If a user got Ubuntu (or any GPL software) on CD and
>> has no Internet, why should he be forced to buy something (Internet
>> access) just so that he can make use of his rights? That doesn't make
>> sense to me.
> Indeed... the requirement on 3(a) of "medium customarily used for
> software interchange" is a bit vague and fuzzy. My interpretation would
> be that if you use the same medium you used for the binaries then that's
> fair enough. So, if I'm distributing binaries on-line, then putting the
> sources on-line on the same location would be ok. But if I'm giving you
> the binaries on a CD, then the sources should be available on CD and I
> expect that putting them on-line would *not* satisfy the 3(a)
> requirement. But this interpretation is mostly a guess. The license text
> on 3(a) really isn't very clear.

I don't see it as all that fuzzy, and if anything, it's looser, not more
restrictive.  Besides, this would be under section 3(b), assuming you
got Ubuntu on CD.

The requirement, in simple terms is any one of the following:

a) Provide the source code right along with the binaries.
b) Provide the source code somewhere else.
c) Point to a 3rd party that will provide the source code.

Don't try to parse a legal document as if it was a C program.  When it
gets to court, standards of reasonableness apply.  Is online
distribution a "medium customarily used for software interchange"?
Well, how many millions of programs are distributed that way, including
virtually every linux distribution ever made?  Someone trying to suggest
that the internet is not often used to download programs would be
laughed at.

Remember, the requirements are from the distributors perspective, not
the end user.

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list