Distributing Fedora packages under GPLv2 3(b)

Matt Domsch Matt_Domsch at dell.com
Fri Oct 5 22:03:05 UTC 2007

Fedora distributes code online under GNU GPLv2 paragraph 3a (source
posted alongside and concurrent with binaries).  Fedora also
distributes binaries on CD and DVD (such as at trade shows) without
necessarily handing out CDs and DVDs with the source code.  For these
instances I'd like to see a written source code offer per GPLv2 paragraph

For Spins and derivatives, it would be nice for us to provide code
under GPLv2 3b.  This frees non-commercial Spins and derivatives from
having to publish the (unchanged) source code on their own site or
media - they can distribute under GPLv2 paragraph 3c and point at our
3b offer.  This lowers the barrier to entry for Spins and derivatives.

Under 3a, we can remove the source and binaries at any time from the
download servers, because they were posted concurrently.  We
regularly remove outdated packages from updates/.  However, if a Spin
or derivative used a package from updates/, now they are on the hook
to provide source (or a written offer for source, or a pass-through
written offer for source), and they can't (currently) count on those
packages to exist on Fedora's servers, so they can't use 3c (because
Fedora isn't using 3b).

I suggest using Fedora's Source Code Control System (currently CVS) as
the canonical location for all source code, and suggest we build a web
app that can generate versioned SRPMS on request based on CVS tags.
Jef Spaleta has built a proof-of-concept[1].  This would let us remove
SRPMS from the download servers at will, but upon request someone
could still regenerate and download them.

Here's some text I think could go into a README-SOURCE file inside the
fedora-release package, to land on CD/DVD media.  I haven't passed
this by a lawyer, and we'd want to do that.



[1] http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Infrastructure/RFR/SRPMSFromVersionControl

Matt Domsch
Linux Technology Strategist, Dell Office of the CTO
linux.dell.com & www.dell.com/linux

Proposed Text of README-SOURCE:

Fedora is a Linux-based operating system that showcases the latest in
free and open source software. Fedora is always free for anyone to
use, modify, and distribute.

In accordance with the copyright licenses under which all Fedora
software is licensed, you may obtain a complete machine-readable copy
of the source code for each program.  This offer is valid for at least
three years from the date the software is released, and is applicable
to anyone.  There may be a nominal fee charged to you for the physical
act of transferring a copy.

You may obtain source code in several ways:

* The canonical method is by downloading the source code via the
  Internet from Fedora's Source Control System.  See
  http://fedoraproject.org for instructions.

* The Source RPM package for each Binary RPM package is distributed
  concurrently on the Fedora download servers.  See
  http://fedoraproject.org for a list of download servers.

* Several organizations produce physical media containing the Fedora
  distribution and source code.  A list of such organizations can be
  found at http://fedoraproject.org.

* Should all of the above methods be unavailable to you, you may write
  to source-offer at fedoraproject.org and request the source for any

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