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Re: [vox] GPL and LGPL license quiz
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Re: [vox] GPL and LGPL license quiz

Quoting Micah J. Cowan (micah@cowan.name):

> Well, it's *sorta* true.


The FSF quiz would have us believe that "a medium customarily used for
software interchange" must mean "a physical medium" in the sense of, oh,
whatever the hell they want it to mean this week:  punched paper tape,
CD-ROMs, 8-track music cartridges, whatever.  Which interpretation is
not supported by the licence text.

The term "a medium customarily used for software interchange" means
ultimately what a judge says it does.  Unless and until then, prudent 
readers attempt to anticipate what a judge would say on that point, as
best they can.

_Are_ (e.g.) ftp sites "a medium customarily used for software
interchange"?  Gee, I think so.  What colour's the sky in your vicinity?

> It's only false when the object code is itself distributed via FTP
> (and not by any other means)... which is how most people do it in
> practice (when it's noncommercial).


Please tell me where in the text of GPL v. 2 it says that.  I could have
missed the boat, all these years.

> (To the interested: cf. last sentence of #3 in 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, even though third parties are not compelled to copy the source
along with the object code."

Not really relevant to the source-code access criteria, generally.

> I musta totally been smoking something when I read the GPL so long
> ago... I coulda sworn I read something about making source available
> over FTP, etc. was perfectly fine, provided that the provider made
> sure that the URL was valid for at least 3 years... but not even
> version 1.0 said that...

That's the wrong question.  The question is whether "FTP etc." qualifies
as "a medium customarily used for software interchange".  If so, it can
be used by redistributors to satisfy the source-access requirement of
GPL v. 2's clause 2b.  If not, it doesn't.

Frankly, I think it's been quite undeniable, for at least the last
couple of decades, that such is manifestly the case.

"Is it not the beauty of an asynchronous form of discussion that one can go and 
make cups of tea, floss the cat, fluff the geraniums, open the kitchen window 
and scream out it with operatic force, volume, and decorum, and then return to 
the vexed glowing letters calmer of mind and soul?" -- The Cube, forum3000.org
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