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How do we offer source code for dotpup/pupget packages?
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jmarsden


Joined: 31 Dec 2005
Posts: 263
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan 2006, 20:54    Post subject:  How do we offer source code for dotpup/pupget packages?  

How (where, and in what form) are those publishing dotpup and pupget packages containing GPLed or LGPLed binaries offering the correspondong source code to those who download them?

I'm definitely not a lawyer, but in my view, without either doing this, or including the sources within same package as the binaries, redistributing (L)GPLed binaries is probably outside the terms of the licence for the software concerned. In that case, putting those binaries on the Internet for public download becomes, technically, a breach of copyright. I'd like to show respect for the authors of any software I package for Puppy, by respecting their choice of licence.

In other Linux packaging environments, .rpm files have .srpm files, .deb files have .dsc (and .orig.tar.gz and usually a .diff.gz) files, and so forth. There seems to be no visible equivalent for pupget or .pup files.

Is this an issue the Puppy packager community has not yet addressed, or have I just missed it somewhere among the different web sites and forums? Has there been previous discussion on this topic that someone can point me to?

Thanks,

Jonathan
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GuestToo
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Joined: 04 May 2005
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan 2006, 21:07    Post subject:  

i've always considered url's pointing to where i downloaded the source to be adequate

i've hacked the source of a couple of packages ... in these cases, i documented my changes in the readme.txt file

this may not be adequate, but no one has complained so far

i would consider any programs written specifically for Puppy would be licensed under the "Puppy License", whatever that might be, unless the program's documentation states otherwise
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BarryK
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jan 2006, 23:11    Post subject:  

I have been in contact with the Free Software Foundation about this, and Puppy meets the legal requirement.

All software in the official live-CD, drawn from the Puppy Unleashed package pool, is available also in source form.
The source is on the Sourcerer CD, as explained in the download page:

http://www.puppylinux.com/download/downpage.htm

The legal requirement is that the source must be available in some form, not necessarily by download. Purchase by CD at a nominal cost is acceptable.
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jmarsden


Joined: 31 Dec 2005
Posts: 263
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 01:20    Post subject:  

GuestToo wrote:
i've always considered url's pointing to where i downloaded the source to be adequate

That depends on the specific licence used. The GPL FAQ says that this is not adequate for GPLed code. See http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#TOCSourceAndBinaryOnDifferentSites for their explanation. My understanding is that this applies equally to LGPLed code, since the two licences have identical wording in this regard.

While the chances that the authors of a piece of GPLed software will actually take action against a packager doing the packaging non-commercially as an individual are probably low, that doesn't mean we who recompile and repackage and redistribute open source software should remain unaware of the implications of the licences which permitted us to obtain the software in the first place. It's just not honoring the people who wrote it and chose to publish it under a particular licence, to (through ignorance or deliberately!) break the terms and conditions under which their software was made available.

Anyone packaging GPL or LGPL licenced software would do well to read the two licences carefully, then read through the GNU GPL FAQ and take the quiz it points to.

I'm definitely not an expert in this area, and have made mistakes with this before now (and will probably do so again in future!!). However, the information necessary to be appropriately careful as a package creator is readily available online -- my recommendation is that we read it and use it to become better at this particular small but useful part of the free software creation and distribution process.

Jonathan
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rarsa


Joined: 29 May 2005
Posts: 3053
Location: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 01:29    Post subject:  

Barry has answered regarding Pupgets.

In the case of Dotpups:
A) Dotpups are not provided 'by puppy' so we cannot compare them with rpms or debs from other distributions. the only 'distribution provided packages' are the pupgets.

B) For dotpups the onus of complying with the GPL falls on the person that provides the DotPup. In this case not removing the license and notices provided by the original developer is enough.

This in the FSF FAQ:
http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#RedistributedBinariesGetSource.
http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#WhyMustIInclude
Under this case, the friend is the person making the source available as a dotpup. As long as you receive the offef to get the original source code from the original provider, the GPL is being honoured.

GuestToo's, in the case of your documented changes, there is also an answer you - and anyone releasing modified versions - should read: http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DistributingSourceIsInconvenient
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jmarsden


Joined: 31 Dec 2005
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Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 03:30    Post subject:  

BarryK wrote:
I have been in contact with the Free Software Foundation about this, and Puppy meets the legal requirement.

Right. My question was posted in the "Additional Software" forum, for that reason, and so (by definition, I thought!) was addressed to packagers of such additional software, not directed at those packaging and distributing the base Puppy distribution itself (or variant Puppy distributions. I've no idea how those folks are meeting the relevant licence requirement... that's not my immediate concern, as I'm not planning to distribute a .iso of a variant Puppy). Apologies if that was unclear in my initial post.

Sort of half-way between the base distribution and individual addon apps would be compilations of things, like usr_devx.sfs. Is there a corresponding sourcerer-like CD for that, too? I've not see an offer for that one yet, as far as I know. Is one planned in future? Would you like help creating it?

Back to what I was really asking about: individual add-on application packages. Currently, I don't see the various dotpup files I've downloaded (whether from forums or web sites) containing similar written offers to provide source code on CD at nominal cost. Many individual packagers perhaps don't have the support infrastructure to deal with doing it that way, I suspect. Making the sources available online (assuming a suitable server is at hand!) is, I think, quicker and easier for some people to do, in today's era of (relatively) low cost high-bandwidth Internet connections.

It's great that people are packaging and distributing new things for Puppy. But (as you already found for the base distribution and for Unleashed) thinking through this stuff and then (whether online, on CD, or even on a stack of floppies (ugh!) is basically irrelevant) meeting licence requirements in some fashion does matter. It is (I believe) part of the packager's role to understand these issues and to do what it takes to meet these licence requirements. The GPL and LGPL licences list several ways to meet their source code requirement. Providing a URL to wherever the packager found the source code is not one of them.

I'm not trying to upset anyone or cause unnecessary difficulties. I'm asking an honest question. One that I feel is important. Neither of these first two replies, despite both being from somewhat well known figures in the Puppy community, far has really answered it all that satisfactorily, to my mind, for the case of individuals packaging additional software for Puppy.

[[ Well, unless your response is a hint that one way to handle this is to make pupget packages, and send them to you with full sources, so that you can add them to both the Sourcerer CD and to Unleashed Smile That would "work", in that it clearly meets the licence requirements -- but it would (presumably) delay their distribution until the next version of Unleashed and its associated Sourcerer CD is mastered and made available. That feels a bit convoluted compared to (say) posting an SRPM and its binary RPM on an FTP or web site.]]

In case you or others are wondering -- this is not just a theoretical issue. I have a few packages for Puppy. I could release them for the Puppy user community. They are not all that well tested yet, and I doubt they are applications that the average Puppy user will be particularly ecstatic about, because I'm not exactly the average Puppy user .. but the packages do exist Smile I'm holding off on distributing them for two main reasons:
  • Lack of clarity about which package format to use, since I would prefer not to concurrently support multiple packaging options for the same apps on the same distribution, it seems inefficient, and
  • this one: where and how do package developers creating packages of "additional software" for Puppy that use licences requiring it make their source code available.
The packaging format question is slowly being answered (I think) through dialogue here in this forum. I'm hoping the Foundation 006 meeting may also provide further clarity and hopefully a sense of medium- to long-term future direction on that. So... that leaves the source code availability question (for individually-published add-on application packages), which I'm now asking here in this new thread.

I hope this provides enough (maybe too much?) context for my question.

Jonathan
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rarsa


Joined: 29 May 2005
Posts: 3053
Location: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 04:20    Post subject:  

I understand your concern. Actually addressing those issues is the only way for FLOSS to be viable.

Regarding the Dotpups semantics matter and Barry has been very clear in stressing that these are provided by puppy enthusiasts.

Quote:
Providing a URL to wherever the packager found the source code is not one of them.
Maybe the problem here is the terminology. Here in the forum we are friends sharing whet we've found. Not 'packagers' in the sense it's understood in other distributions. One of the links I provided addresses this. Here I will quote:

FSF official site wrote:
My friend got a GPL-covered binary with an offer to supply source, and made a copy for me. Can I use the offer myself to obtain the source?
Yes, you can. The offer must be open to everyone who has a copy of the binary that it accompanies. This is why the GPL says your friend must give you a copy of the offer along with a copy of the binary---so you can take advantage of it.
It does not say that your friend must provide you with the source code but with the original offer.

Providing the offer may not seem important to some people as they 'know' or can find out that certain package is open source. But I consider it outmost important to make it as obvious as possible to the person installing the binary.

Many people still associate 'free' with pirated and are still very incredulous when they learn that Linux itself or other software packages are free/libre.

Your point is well taken, I will review the few dotpups I've created with third party packages and will make sure that the license is prominent.
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jmarsden


Joined: 31 Dec 2005
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Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 05:17    Post subject:  

rarsa wrote:
Barry has answered regarding Pupgets.

Yes, for Pupget's in Unleashed, at least. Although this FAQ question and answer suggests to me that since the unleashed pupgets are offered for anon FTP download at ibiblio.org, the sources should be too? I'll take it BarryK got special permission based on limited space at ibiblio.org or something similar... that's cool, and it's not my immediate concern here anyway.

Barry hasn't answered for pupget's created by individuals and published elsewhere (my more immediate issue) , nor for .sfs collections of files (possibly my issue in future, I'm thinking of offering an enhanced usr_devx.sfs at some stage, or working with Barry on the official one, if he'd like that).
Quote:
In the case of Dotpups:
A) Dotpups are not provided 'by puppy' so we cannot compare them with rpms or debs from other distributions. the only 'distribution provided packages' are the pupgets.

I truly wasn't asking this question of "puppy", Nor of the Puppy Foundation, nor of BarryK. I was asking it of the community of individual app developers and packagers who frequent this forum.

Anyway, I think we can usefully compare dotpups to RPMs and .debs created and distributed provided by people like me... in the past I have packaged some apps in that way, and placed both SRPMs and RPMs on the same anon FTP site. So clearly meeting the licence requirement. In case the context isn't clear, this was done as an individual, I have never worked for Red Hat, and the apps concerned were not a part of the Red Hat distribution itself. Surely in this sort of case, the parallel with other packaging systems is entirely reasonable, and possibly useful?
Quote:
B) For dotpups the onus of complying with the GPL falls on the person that provides the DotPup.

On the person who distributes it. Agreed 100%.
Quote:
In this case not removing the license and notices provided by the original developer is enough.

In the general case, I disagree. This may be true occasionally, but only if that developer (really "original distributor") also provides a "written offer" to provide sources, and that offer is also made part of the dotpup, surely. And this is not the common case for dotpups, I would suggest. The GPL itself reads in Section 3(c):
GPL wrote:
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.)

rarsa wrote:
]This in the FSF FAQ:
http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#RedistributedBinariesGetSource.
http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#WhyMustIInclude

These basically say that if the source code you got came with a written offer, you can pass that offer along. Cool.

Today, in 2006, how many tarballs of source code, or even sets of Linux distribution CDs, come with such an offer (OK, it appears that Puppy does, if you get the official binary Puppy CD from Barry. Any others?) How many dotpups that redistribute parts of say Slackware or Vector Linux include the written offer that Slackware or Vector make (assuming they include such an offer, I don't know whether they do or not)? [[ The same question can be asked for usr_devx.sfs -- is the "written offer" in there somewhere? Or on ftp.ibiblio.org somewhere? But that's a secondary issue for me. Back to packaging and distributing individual apps!]] My strong suspicion is that such written offers are actually fairly rare in the Linux world today. Parallel distribution of source code and binaries (Section 3(a) of the GPL) is the norm, and for good reason --it's usually a lot simpler to do, both for large organizations distributing entire major distributions, and for the individual developer/packager putting a few packages out there on an FTP server!
Quote:
Under this case, the friend is the person making the source available as a dotpup. As long as you receive the offef to get the original source code from the original provider, the GPL is being honoured.

There are "friends" making the source available as a dotpup? Where? That's great, but I'm not seeing "source dotpups" for each binary dotpup... nor do I see offers from the original provider in the binary dotpups. Or am I misunderstanding your statement?

If we look at http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#AnonFTPAndSendSources
and consider that distribution by HTTP is legally extremely similar to distributing by anon FTP, that suggests to me there may really be something to think about here.

Example: Let's use me as an example (if we used anyone else, that person might be offended!). If I download the sources for, say, GNU binutils from ftp.gnu.org itself, compile them (unchanged) under Puppy, install them, create a dotpup from the result, and put that (binary) dotpup up for download... how would a user downloading it know where to get the source code? There is *nothing* in the dotpup to indicate who made it, much less where the sources can be found. There is no "written offer" being distributed in or with the binutils source tarball for me to pass along, that I can see... nor would I expect one -- it was a source tarball, the sources are right there, why would anyone also include a written offer to supply them by mail or whatever? The sources are being distributed under 3(a), so there is no way for me to distribute the resulting binaries under 3(c) at all, because it only applies if I received the binaries as binaries already, and under Section 3(b). Which is not the case. I must distribute my binaries either under 3(b) the way Barry does for Unleashed, making my own written offer, or else under 3(a), I must provide the source code with the binaries.

So, I have the source code, but no written offer from anyone else to supply that source code. I've made a dotpup, but it doesn't include the source code. I have a created a one line automated way to create a dotpup exactly like this (that dotpup is on the machine I am typing at right now) -- but as far as I can tell, distributing that dotpup would break the (L)GPL licence the binutils software is licenced to me under. Distributing a dotpup that included all the binutils sources too would (of course) meet the licencing requirements perfectly, but would be unwieldy for end users.

This is (I believe) a part of why other systems have the SRPM/RPM and .deb/.dsc pairings. It allows easy side-by-side online distribution, but users can choose whether they want to download the sources or not. Most will probably opt not to do so. This seems a fairly neat solution, to me. What is the corresponding solution in the Puppy developer community, and where can I see examples of it in current use?

Now we have a specific (personal!) example to use, maybe we can look at finding a solid answer to the question I am posing in that one specific context? Hopefully, the answer we come up with will be applicable to others, too.

Let me suggest one option (so I'm part of the solution, not just a problem!). One option might be to create a "source dotpup", and publish it. So you'd see someapp-1.2.pup and also someapp-src-1.2.pup (or something like that). Is that what is expected? Is there a naming convention for the "source dotpups"? Is there an example of this approach currently online somewhere I can use as a starting point for my own stuff? Should my dpupmaker.sh script be automating the creation of these "source dotpups" too? Is there a better way -- for example, would it be helpful to distinguish between binary .pups and source ones by naming the soure ones .spup rather than .pup ??

I'm sure there are other ways to handle this... what are others doing in this regard? Do I need to do this at all?

A similarly solid answer for those creating dotpups by copying binaries from other Linux distributions would probably be good too, because that seems to be one fairly common way to create them at the moment. My sense (again, I'm no lawyer, I'm a geek!) from reading the licence and the GPL FAQ is that in such a case, if the binaries are repackaged and offered for download, then either the "written offer" needs to be there in each dotpup, or else the corresponding sources must also be similarly offered, to meet the licence requirements. It would be very convenient if that were to be an incorrect interpretation Smile

Apologies again to both you and BarryK, who both seem to have taken my question as being addressed to Puppy-the-distribution itself, or to those who distribute it. That wasn't my intent. It's Additional Software (the name and focus of this forum) that is the focus of my question.

Jonathan
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jmarsden


Joined: 31 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 05:40    Post subject:  

rarsa wrote:
Regarding the Dotpups semantics matter and Barry has been very clear in stressing that these are provided by puppy enthusiasts.

Sure. He can't be held responsible for what other people package and redistribute. I posted to the forum, I didn't send an email or PM to Barry Smile
jmarsden wrote:
Providing a URL to wherever the packager found the source code is not one of them.
rarsa wrote:
Maybe the problem here is the terminology. Here in the forum we are friends sharing whet we've found. Not 'packagers' in the sense it's understood in other distributions.

Right - to me a "packager" is someone who creates a package. Whether they do so professionally, under contract (I've done some of that) or for free (I've done some of that too, and hope to do more here!) does not matter. If someone packages something, they are a packager. Is that a useful definition?
Quote:
One of the links I provided addresses this.

Only for the case where binaries are obtained by "the friend" under Section 3(b) and they are accompanied by a written offer. And then a copy of that offer has to go into the new package.
Quote:
Your point is well taken, I will review the few dotpups I've created with third party packages and will make sure that the license is prominent.

And that a copy of the original written offer is there in the package? Such an offer is not the same thing as the licence. The licence text comes from the author/copyright owner of the software, who (when the licence is (L)GPL) adds the licence text to the source tarball, usually. The "written offer" comes from the "earlier binary packager" -- whoever distributed the binaries you received under Section 3(b). And that person is rarely going to be the author/copyright holder.

I'm glad my question is making other packagers (like you!) think about this stuff, and respond positively.

Jonathan
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BarryK
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 08:21    Post subject:  

The Sourcerer CD is getting close to the 700M limit. I could provide a CD2, with anything extra required. If anyone creating a addon for Puppy wants to, they could send me the source and I will bung it into CD2.

I just visited the Vector site, and I can't find any link to sources. Ditto the same problem with DSL. These distros have been around much longer than Puppy, so how is it that nobody enforces the source thing with them?
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BarryK
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 08:42    Post subject:  

BarryK wrote:

I just visited the Vector site, and I can't find any link to sources. Ditto the same problem with DSL. These distros have been around much longer than Puppy, so how is it that nobody enforces the source thing with them?


Thanks to G2 who found this URL:
http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/damnsmall/GPL_Sources.txt
So, DSL are complying by providing a CD.

Incidentally, there was a comment in one of the above threads that The Puppy Sourcerer CD was provided instead of downloads by "special permission" from the FSF.
It is not "special permission". The FSF made clear to me that providing the source CD at nominal cost is allowable. In my case I don't have the online bandwidth anyway for hosting the source.
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jmarsden


Joined: 31 Dec 2005
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Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 13:59    Post subject:  

BarryK wrote:
Incidentally, there was a comment in one of the above threads that The Puppy Sourcerer CD was provided instead of downloads by "special permission" from the FSF.
It is not "special permission". The FSF made clear to me that providing the source CD at nominal cost is allowable. In my case I don't have the online bandwidth anyway for hosting the source.

That was me, but what I actually said was:
jmarsden wrote:
I'll take it BarryK got special permission based on limited space at ibiblio.org or something similar... that's cool, and it's not my immediate concern here anyway.

My understanding of the GPL is that what it asks for is "equivalent access" -- that is a direct quote from the licence itself. So if someone offers the Puppy .iso by mail, its fine for them to offer equivalent (by mail) access to its sources. That's 100% normal, especially for folks with dialup connections or no net access at all, or similar. It was common before Internet connectivity was widespread.

If someone makes the Puppy .iso available online, then my impression frm reading the GPL itself is that to comply, that person would normally be expected to provide "equivalent access" to the Puppy sources. That's the direction that a question and answer in the FAQ lean, too. So I thought, since Puppy seems to have one kind of access for the .ISO and another for the sources, and since you'd said you'd contacted the FSF folks about this, you probably got some sort of special permission. My thinking was incorrect. I said "I take it" because I wasn't sure. Thanks for clarifying.

Here's the FAQ entry I am thinking of, in its entirety:
GPL FAQ wrote:
I want to make binaries available for anonymous FTP, but send sources only to people who order them.
If you want to distribute binaries by anonymous FTP, you have to distribute sources along with them. This should not be hard. If you can find a site to distribute your program, you can surely find one that has room for the sources.

The sources you provide must correspond exactly to the binaries. In particular, you must make sure they are for the same version of the program--not an older version and not a newer version.

You can make the sources and binaries available on different machines, provided they are equally easy to get to, and provided that you have information next to the binaries saying where to find the sources.

This sounds to me as though it addresses your situation. I realize the FAQ is not the licence... but the "equivalent access" language is definitely there in the licence itself. Has FSF has told you this FAQ answer is incorrect? If so, that would be very useful information to make public. Maybe we can get the FAQ changed, in that case, to match FSF's current interpretation of the licence?

For myself, I'm more interested in the case of individual packages created and distributed by individual packagers, than in the case of an entire Linux distribution. Because I'm looking at distributing packages, not an entire distribution. I never intended this thread to pose any kind of challenge to you or to those distributing Puppy .iso files to somehow "prove" they are in compliance. I'm not planning on playing licence policeman! (Actually I can't, unless what is being distributed is code that I hold copyright to!). You and others raised the issue of how Puppy-the-distribution itself handles this, not me. I just want to know how the Puppy "Additional Software" packagers and distributors currently deal with this, so that any packages I distribute can handle source availability in the same way, based on their earlier experience.

Jonathan
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MU


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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 14:20    Post subject:  

In the past (and still today) many additional packages are not compiled from source, but taken from other resources like Debian, Mandrake and so on.
So you might have to provide the source RPMs/Debs , too.

However, there are meanwhile dozends of FTP-servers providing these sourcepackages. So the source is at least available.
If you see, what for ugly hosters some people use to upload a dotpup they created from binaries, you can be shure, several would stop contributing Dotpups, if they even were forced to search and upload the sources.

So in fact, this may be a violation of the GPL.
It is not a violation of the Authors right in practice (though it is in the view of the GPL), as in practice a author is happy, if someone links his homepage so he becomes more popular.

I think your new Dotpupscript will make it easier in future to provide sources.
Simply, because if people download sources to compile them, it is a lesser effort, to upload this source-tgz, too.
This willbe even easier with the mirrors we got (but my upload-area is not finished yet, providing FTP-accounts is just a temporary solution).

Meanwhile we have to live with the violation.
The spirit of the GPL tries to help authors in defending their right against people (companies), that want to steal and patent their code.
I think in the case of Dotpup-contributors is should be clear, that this is not the goal.
For this reason I can accept the current situation (temporarily).

Mark

Last edited by MU on Thu 12 Jan 2006, 14:35; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan F


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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 14:30    Post subject:  

This thread has given me a great deal to think about and I will definately be taking steps to make sure all of my packages and iso images are in compliance. Since the software in question is primarily hosted on one server I'll take steps to make all of the source available on that same server and link to it prominently from grafpup.com (when the site is back up). This seems to be the most clear way to comply with the license and is also a help to the projects that I have benefited from by providing an additional mirror.

I don't know if all of the community will respond in like fashion but since I've been so prolific lately I'd rather err on the side of caution here. Not because I'm afraid of the FSF but because I respect the principals involved.

Of course this will be a major undertaking and will probably take some time, plus I guess I'll be buying a sourceror cd from Barry to make it easier to collect all of the source for the binaries of his I'm redistributing.

It's a good issue to raise, but I don't expect many people who might be new to making dotpups to come forward and host a bunch of source code. I also tend to agree with the position that making a link to where the source can be obtained is sufficient in many cases. BUT.....if you send a whole lot of people to a particular site to download the source that you're legally required to redistribute then it does put a bit more load on their server, now doesn't it? I think it would be preferable to redistribute the source yourself.

Nathan
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BarryK
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan 2006, 20:59    Post subject:  

Quote:
Of course this will be a major undertaking and will probably take some time, plus I guess I'll be buying a sourceror cd from Barry to make it easier to collect all of the source for the binaries of his I'm redistributing.


Nathan,
You don't have to buy it! Ditto for any of the other major Puppy developers.
Send me a p.m. with your postal address.
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