Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 25th Aug 2006 09:09 UTC, submitted by anonymous
GNU, GPL, Open Source "The cipherfunk web site, which made extra packages available to Ubuntu and MEPIS users, was shut down in response to complaints from Ubuntu team members Matthew Garrett and Philipp Kern. It is my understanding they alleged that cipherfunk was not making modified GPLed source code available in a timely fashion. You can read about it the website." "Well, the GNU GPL states as part of Section 3 of the licence that I must provide source code on request for no more than the cost of physically performing the distribution. Given that the host this box is on actually costs me 110.95AUD every 30 days to run, 9.90AUD, as nice as that is - still will cost me over 100AUD to distribute the code at all." Update: As Matthew Garret pointed out in the comments, he wrote his side of the story on his blog.
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Good grief.
by albalbo on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:01 UTC
albalbo
Member since:
2006-08-25

First, I don't see what this has to do with Mepis, apart from the fact that they're known GPL-haters. Why they even bother distributing software whose license they so obviously don't like, I don't understand.

Second, why should authors of software (who have released it under _any_ licence, not just the GPL) have to accept people who distribute it contrary to the licence?

It doesn't matter if it's people not distributing source for a GPL'd app, or someone who took the copyright notices off a BSD app, or any other infringement: either you distribute the app properly, or you don't distribute it. It's pretty simple.

I suggest people actually read Matthew's request that 'cipherfunk' fix the situation (http://www.codon.org.uk/~mjg59/polite_note.txt) - he didn't request he take down the binaries, or stop charging: he could have easily remedied the situation by charging for all access, and that would have covered his bandwidth charges. cipherfunk chose to whine about the licence and then close down his download section: that was his choice out of a number of options, and nothing required him to "shut down", let alone the "GPL police" (aka software authors who would like their software distributed according to the terms of its licence).

Reply Score: 5

RE: Good grief.
by REM2000 on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:05 in reply to "Good grief."
REM2000 Member since:
2006-07-25

i agree, i must be missing something, but if he's hosting the binaries, why couldn't he zip up and host the src code aswell, source code is usually pretty small.

If it was a case of bandwidth then surly the binaries would zap that quicker than the src code.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Good grief.
by JonathanBThompson on Fri 25th Aug 2006 11:08 in reply to "RE: Good grief."
JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

It sounds quite like he had to (or felt he had to) include a huge amount of surrounding source code to what he fixed, based on the statistics on the site. Tell me: have you actually done much software development on a large project? I just did a check on the Haiku source code versus the generated binaries, and guess what: the source code was more than 3 times the size of the binaries! While the source code will likely zip at a better compression ratio than the binaries, it won't zip *that* much, and the source code is still very significant, even with zipping.

What he *should* have done to reduce bandwidth overhead is distribute only the zipped up diffs: if someone is truly serious about using the source code for whatever reason, surely they have the ability to get the code that the diffs refer to, and apply them themselves. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that wouldn't violate the license terms, though a lot of people would be rather displeased about having to actually think about the whole thing and do an extra step ;) I wouldn't be the least bit surprised that 99% of the people demanding the source code distribution did it purely for the sake of testing his compliance with the terms of the license: most sane people that aren't overwrought about their machines getting the absolute top performance by applying compiler optimizations are satisfied with working binaries, especially if it takes a lot of time to do a build. Heck, here's a thought I love that he could have done: hired someone to copy all the source onto floppies and have those mailed via standard mail, one floppy at a time, to all those that request and pay for it ;) As long as it were "at cost" it would be perfectly valid, right??? Right??????

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Good grief.
by pfortuny on Fri 25th Aug 2006 10:09 in reply to "Good grief."
pfortuny Member since:
2006-02-05

Yes, in some sense you are right. However, now only this guy will enjoy his patch. Is this good for human beings?

Just a question...

but *strictly speaking* yes you are right.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Good grief.
by macisaac on Fri 25th Aug 2006 13:55 in reply to "Good grief."
macisaac Member since:
2005-08-28

" I don't see what this has to do with Mepis, apart from the fact that they're known GPL-haters. "

Indeed. While I rather like Linux and GPL'ed software myself (though I'm actually more a free software advocate than specifically a GPL advocate. overall I dislike licenses in the first place), I don't see why Warren continues to use it as the base for his distribution. PCBSD (which I haven't used mind you) appears to have shown that a BSD-based desktop distro is very much possible. Why not just use some upstream BSD source, and be done with it (and stop the complaining...)?

From what I understand, Mepis' touch is really more on the application level (X on up), not the kernel and more base components. As such, as long as it's a free *nix, technically it shouldn't really matter that much what he's using to build it off of.

Reply Parent Score: 2