Posted Mar 5, 2011 17:56 UTC (Sat) by pboddie
In reply to: Preferred form
Parent article: Commitment to Open (Red Hat News)
I always interpreted "preferred form" to be the original source, rather than, say, object files or preprocessor output. [...] The idea being that you can modify and rebuild the program.
Yes, the intention is surely that you get precisely the source code for the code that is being run, not just a set of patches against some other archive that you have to track down.
After reading an LWN news item a few weeks ago, I ended up on a site which offered patches for a selection of packages to be obtained from their upstream locations for the software suite mentioned in the news item. Since some of the packages were LGPL- and GPL-licensed, I sent a question to the person responsible for licence compliance at the organisation concerned, noting that this links-plus-patches page probably wouldn't be good enough to comply with those licences, but also noting that this wouldn't matter unless the site in question were the primary means of giving the sources to those who had received binaries from that organisation. It turned out that the links-plus-patches page was merely for everybody else on the Internet, as I suspected.
So in fact, as myself and the representative of the organisation concerned agreed, offering separate patches is a convenience, but it probably isn't suitable as a means of complying with copyleft licences, as indeed the GPL FAQ notes.
to post comments)