It’s Been 80 Days Since I Asked About GnoBSD Sources

Did you think I’d forgotten? Not on your life. Back on the 12th of February, I asked where the sources for GPL’ed software contained within GnoBSD were provided. To this date, the guy who’s put GnoBSD together has whiffed at providing them on his site as required by the relevant licenses of those projects. That’s not just Gnome, but everything he distributes under the GPL.

All he’s done in the interim is suggest that he’s provided binaries from ports without modifications with the exception of two packages.

That’s still not in compliance with the license. From the GNU site:

I want to distribute binaries, but distributing complete source is inconvenient. Is it ok if I give users the diffs from the “standard” version along with the binaries?
This is a well-meaning request, but this method of providing the source doesn’t really do the job.

A user that wants the source a year from now may be unable to get the proper version from another site at that time. The standard distribution site may have a newer version, but the same diffs probably won’t work with that version.

So you need to provide complete sources, not just diffs, with the binaries.

Can I make binaries available on a network server, but send sources only to people who order them?
If you make object code available on a network server, you have to provide the Corresponding Source on a network server as well. The easiest way to do this would be to publish them on the same server, but if you’d like, you can alternatively provide instructions for getting the source from another server, or even a version control system. No matter what you do, the source should be just as easy to access as the object code, though. This is all specified in section 6(d) of GPLv3.

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.

How can I make sure each user who downloads the binaries also gets the source?
You don’t have to make sure of this. As long as you make the source and binaries available so that the users can see what’s available and take what they want, you have done what is required of you. It is up to the user whether to download the source.

Our requirements for redistributors are intended to make sure the users can get the source code, not to force users to download the source code even if they don’t want it.

The second answer from that FAQ points to section 6 of the GPLv3. It clearly states that source must be made available from the distributor of the binary via one of the listed mechanisms. Pointing to another source — whether a ports tree, an upstream packager, or a project site itself — is not among those mechanisms. And such availability of sources isn’t incumbent on being asked to provide them via one of the listed mechanisms: if you distribute object code you must make the source available, period.

This isn’t a new issue or novelty. It’s required developers who’ve based their distros on others to maintain their own source trees rather than point to upstream distros. Mepis had to do this. So have Ubuntu and Knoppix. And everyone else.

So, too, does GnoBSD.

Someone twat commented complained on the previous entry about the lack of GPL compliance of GnoBSD that because this was BSD no offer of sources was required. The issue at hand wasn’t the OpenBSD part of what he was offering. It was the stuff licensed separately under GPLv2, GPLv3, or later. That raving dufus, who claimed to be not involved with GnoBSD, suggested the binaries in GnoBSD were from unmodified sources (so how would he know this to be a factual representation?). Too bad for him that he was wrong about the GPL’s requirements.

Tick-tock-tick-tock… Where are the complete and complying GPL’ed sources for GnoBSD?

UPDATE/ADDENDUM: The first GNU FAQ question above is relevant for several reasons. OpenBSD’s ports aren’t static. Maintainers update patchsets all the time. The GnoBSD site doesn’t give a timestamp for determining what has and hasn’t been patched since the particular release. Did the guy who put GnoBSD together run cvsup? When? Will the present ports tree now compile to reproduce the exact same product he’s distributing or something different?

As for the second and third questions, there is zero offer of corresponding sources used to produce the GPL software he’s still distributing aside from pointing to a ports tree which may or may not have changed since he produced his image(s) of what he calls GnoBSD.

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