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Old 12-01-2012, 05:45 PM   #1
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Registered: Dec 2012
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GPL question (Version 2, June 1991) - physical media availability question

Reading the GNU Public License, there are provisions for reasonable charge when a physical copy of the source code is requested. Is it a requirement that a copy must be made available on physical media - or is this just a limitation so that new code can't be sold for outrages $$ masquerading as the fee for the physical copy?

My question is to learn if a physical copy on media must be provided upon request as opposed to an electronic copy via download.
Old 12-01-2012, 06:34 PM   #2
Registered: Jun 2007
Distribution: debian, ubuntu, centos, esxi
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While I'm no lawyer, I would say you don't have to provide a physical disk if you are providing a download.
People may want to refer to
particularly section 3b
"Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange;"
The way I interpret "physically performing" can include offering a download link.

There are a few sections like
"If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering access to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent access to copy the source code from the same place counts as distribution of the source code, even though third parties are not compelled to copy the source along with the object code."
That sound like you have to provide access to source code in the same medium as the program, but it sounds to me that it is merely providing an option to fulfil your obligation.
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