From: Patrick Maupin on
On May 14, 6:42 pm, Paul Boddie <p...(a)> wrote:

> > You really should slow down and read a bit more carefully.
> You might want to tone down the condescension.

I didn't start out condescending, and I agree I could have worded this
particular statement a bit more clearly, so I apologize for that, but
I can point to at least 5 or 6 occurrences of you misreading me when I
stated things very clearly. It's really starting to get old.

From: Patrick Maupin on
On May 14, 7:24 pm, Terry Reedy <tjre...(a)> wrote:
> "The option to provide an offer for source rather than direct source
> distribution is a special benefit to companies equipped to handle a
> fulfillment process. GPLv2 § 3(c) and GPLv3 § 6(c) avoid burdening
> noncommercial, occasional redistributors with fulfillment request
> obligations by allowing them to pass along the offer for source as they
> received it.

Paul Boddie already pointed out that document. As I explained, that
document was written for the Ciscos of the world. The FAQ, which was
written for you and me states very clearly "The general rule is, if
you distribute binaries, you must distribute the complete
corresponding source code too. The exception for the case where you
received a written offer for source code is quite limited." in answer
to the question "I downloaded just the binary from the net. If I
distribute copies, do I have to get the source and distribute that

As I have pointed out on at least 3 posts by now, this FAQ
interpretation derives directly from the actual license terms and
appears to reflect the terms correctly. If you actually *read* GPLv3 §
6(c), it *only* applies if you received the object code in accordance
with GPLv3 § 6(b). But if you download an ISO from Ubuntu, that
happens under GPLv3 § 6(d), *not* GPLv3 § 6(b).

However, the distribution to your friend when you give him the CD that
you burned for him is under 6(b), so not only do you not have an
upstream to rely on, you are actually in violation of the license once
you give him the CD without your own written offer! (At one level,
this makes sense -- if the 3 year window for source is to have any
teeth, then you can't give the poor guy a CD 2 years after you
downloaded it and expect Ubuntu to make good on the source 5 years
after you downloaded it.)

Now maybe there is some *other* way (besides the obvious ways I've
mentioned such as fair use and the fact that nobody's going to sue
because of the PR fallout from bothering some grandma for sharing a CD
that was advertised as "free") that this is not an issue, but nobody
on this thread has yet shown any credible evidence that the act of
just handing somebody a freshly burned Ubuntu CD with no written offer
is not a violation of the license.

As I have made clear, I do not view this as a direct practical
problem. But I do view it as a huge problem that the license is so
complex that in a couple of days of conversing about it, several
people have asserted that there is no way my reading of the license is
correct, yet nobody has shown solid evidence that would back up an
alternate reading, and I also view it as the tip of the iceberg as far
as the issue of license compliance goes.

From: Patrick Maupin on
On May 14, 6:52 pm, Paul Boddie <p...(a)> wrote:
> On 14 Mai, 21:14, Patrick Maupin <pmau...(a)> wrote:
> > If Joe downloads and burns a CD for his friend, he may not have the
> > sources and may not have any intention of getting them, and probably
> > didn't provide a "written offer."  What you're "ignoring for the
> > moment" is my whole point, that unlike Ubuntu, Joe is now in violation
> > of the GPL license, because he provided neither a written offer nor
> > source on CD, nor his own download site.
> Now, wait a moment! Your point is that just by giving the binary CD to
> someone, you are now in violation of the licence.

Correct -- download an ISO, burn onto CD, hand CD to friend w/o
written offer = license violation.

> What I tried to
> explain is that this situation is anticipated - that the FSF
> acknowledges that the recipient won't have received the sources at the
> same time in all situations - and that the same distributor is
> responsible for providing the sources.

Right. That distributor would be Joe.

> As long as they don't deny the
> recipient access to the sources, by the same means, they are not
> violating the licence.

But Joe didn't give a written offer, and he doesn't even know how to
download the source, and you still haven't showed why that's not a
problem for him.

> You have a point about recipients not being immediately and obviously
> informed of the things they are entitled to, but that is a matter for
> the distributing parties to remedy:

Well, Joe's the distributor to his friend. He got the stuff from
Ubuntu, who will give him source and even have a legal page about it,
but Joe didn't bother reading all that stuff.

> that is arguably what happens
> when, upon loud squealing about matters of "ideology", distributors
> decide to de-emphasise the Free Software aspect of their
> distributions.

Yesterday, you were telling me I should inform Ubuntu that they didn't
have enough license information prominently available in the right
places. Are you now claiming that that's simply because people like
me told Ubuntu that they were emphasizing the license information too

In any case, Ubuntu prominently describes "The Ubuntu Promise" with a
link to more information from their front page. Of course, the
download button is prominent as well.

> Nevertheless, it is my understanding that anyone
> attempting to use or install such distributions do get to see a
> summary of the licences;

Yes, and we all know that everybody has been trained to fully read and
understand every single license the click on when installing software.

> only people who pass on the software without
> inspecting it (which would involve actually inserting the CD and
> booting from it) will be unaware of its contents,

Well, to make what I said in my previous comment more clear, I believe
that Joe would have actually installed the software himself without
bothering to read the license. This may be foolish of Joe, but he is
in excellent company -- in one recent unscientific yet (IMO) well-
constructed study, only 12% of users bothered to read the license at

> and they could only
> be held responsible as reasonably as one's Internet service provider
> if that party were asked to provide source packages for "that Linux
> distro I downloaded last year".

You still haven't yet provided any credible evidence for this version
of the chain of responsibility. But in any case, I suspect Joe would
have actually installed the software without bothering to read any
license information.

> You also have a point about whether people are able to provide sources
> at a later date, which might be troublesome if someone gave someone
> else a CD with an old version of Ubuntu on it and then were asked to
> provide the source packages.

Bingo! My hypothetical Joe would be in serious hot water at this

> Naturally, the FSF have attempted to
> address these points in version 3 of the GPL.

And I submit that they addressed the problem by making it really clear
that yes, it is Joe's responsibility, in section 6.

> I would be interested to
> hear the opinion of the FSF and distributors on this matter, but I
> think it's absurd to accuse the FSF as operating as you allege
> Microsoft do, especially as the distributors are the ones who
> encourage the sharing of the installation media.

Well, it's really the entire ecosystem. I have to believe that
everybody at the FSF knows how this works, and even though RMS is a
shrinking violet, I suspect that if he seriously cared about this, he
would work up the courage to address it publicly, much as it pains him
to share his opinions.

> Really, if you think distributions should do a better job at educating
> their users and helping them uphold any obligations that may apply to
> them, you should talk to them about it.

I seriously don't think they, or the FSF, are interested in this, and
I don't think they will harass Joe in any case. My whole point is
that I believe they *could*, and if several people on this thread
can't either (1) understand and believe that; or (2) provide credible
reasons why I am mistaken, after umpteen posts on several days on this
issue, then the entire issue of actual compliance to the license in a
practical fashion (where I consider downloading and burning a DVD of
source to go along with every CD of object impractical) is really a
lot trickier than some people are making it out to be. This bolsters
my personal opinion that one rational response to this complexity is
to avoid the license when possible.

> But when I attempt to work
> though the issues in a thorough manner in order to thrash out what it
> is you really object to - and in practice, the only objections you can
> seriously have lie in those two points I mention above (not this
> "instant violation" situation, discussed in more detail elsewhere [*])

It's my opinion that the decision to let Joe off the hook is
strategic. Nobody's going to bother Joe, but they *could*. But
there's no percentage in it. I don't actually object to the strategic
decision. It's a marketing decision designed to increase the reach of
the software. Yet instead of embracing the decision yourself, you not
only deny it, but accuse me of bad faith in even suggesting that it
could be a deliberate strategy.

> - and all you can do is suggest that other people are trying to
> mislead you, I struggle to feel inclined to indulge you further.

I'm suggesting that some other people should consider that perhaps my
viewpoint, while admittedly biased (as are all viewpoints) is not all
that inconsistent with reality.

> And suggesting that people have behavioural disorders ("Or because
> have OCD?") might be a source of amusement to you, or may be a neat
> debating trick in certain circles you admire, but rest assured that I
> am neither amused nor impressed, nor are others likely to be.

That was in an honest response to a question you asked "Really, if at
this point you think I'm playing games with you." where I explained
that I don't know what to think, because often, when you claimed to be
addressing my point, you would bring up other red herrings and spend
more time on those, and often assign positions to me that I never
took. When I suggested maybe you don't read carefully enough, you
claimed that's not the root of the problem, so I really don't know
what it is, other than that maybe you need to calm down and reread
what I posted and what you are planning to respond with before pushing
"send". It's really very annoying to be expected to defend positions
I didn't take and statements I didn't make and to have most of your
comments have a subtle dig at my motivations. I honestly don't know
what makes you do that, but it certainly does not bring out the best
in me. I will try to do better if you do too. (BTW, IMO this was one
of your better posts in terms of tone and being on-point, etc., and I
appreciate that.)

From: Lawrence D'Oliveiro on
In message <84a26d03-03b3-47d9-
a1f9-107470b87c75(a)>, Patrick Maupin wrote:

> I also firmly believe, as I have stated before, that the GPL is a much
> more commercial license. If you want to make money off something,
> then, no doubt, GPL keeps your competitors from being able to take
> what you wrote and redistribute it as closed source. But, frankly I
> view that as more of a business issue than a moral issue.

Nevertheless, it's probably a big factor in why the GPL has become the
single most popular open-source licence.
From: Lawrence D'Oliveiro on
In message <mailman.158.1273844352.32709.python-list(a)>, Ed Keith

> Yes, under the GPL every one has one set of freedoms, under the MIT or
> Boost license every one has more freedoms. Under other licenses they have
> fewer freedoms.

But what about the “freedom” to take away other people's freedom? Is that
really “freedom”?