Subject: Re: Advertising Clauses in Licenses
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 07:48:01 -0800

Quoting John Cowan (
> Lawrence E. Rosen scripsit:
>> As for the GPL, where does it say that you can't distribute source
>> via a website?  As I read it, you must merely distribute source code
>> "on a medium customarily used for software interchange."  I now get
>> almost all of my software, including proprietary programs, through
>> downloads.
> See
> et seq.

RMS has mentioned to me that he's considering changing section 3b to 
(in some way) require source code availability on tangible physical media;
the current (v2) wording does _not_ so require.  The coders' intent
should logically be inferred from what that wording actually says, not
FSF's current exegesis.  (Whether a requirement for tangible media would
be good for various parties is a separate discussion, which I'm not

Separately and in addition to that:

The above FAQ claims physical media ("disk or tape") are necessary because 
"not every user is on a network".  But isn't it equally true that not
every user can read any specific physical-media format you might
nominate as a universal distribution medium?  The laptop host I'm typing
this on has no floppy drive at the moment; I left it at home.  And half
the machines in my household are PowerMacs with no floppy or tape
drives.  For us residents -- as, I think, for many others -- ftp, http,
and cvs over rsh _are_ this decade's canonical "medium customarily used
for software interchange".

"Is it not the beauty of an asynchronous form of discussion that one can go and 
make cups of tea, floss the cat, fluff the geraniums, open the kitchen window 
and scream out it with operatic force, volume, and decorum, and then return to 
the vexed glowing letters calmer of mind and soul?" -- The Cube,
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