Subject: Re: written offer valid for any third party Re: OSI enforcement?
From: Rick Moen <rick@linuxmafia.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2008 12:15:12 -0800

Quoting Ernest Prabhakar (ernest.prabhakar@gmail.com):

> Ah, my bad.
> 
> Perhaps someone here can help collect a list of external licensing  
> FAQs that we can point to from the OSI site, to reduce duplication?

If you cross-reference my post of a few minutes ago, I cited FSF's GPL
FAQ as an example of unfortunate inclusion of misinformation.   The
particular bit of misinformation I have in mind has been discussed many
times on this mailing list.

In the revised, post-GPLv3-release iteration of that FAQ, the erroneous
claim is still present, and is now at
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DistributeWithSourceOnInternet
The old FAQ with the same misinformation is still online, and its
careless misrepresentation on the same point can be read at
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0-faq.html#DistributeWithSourceOnInternet

I'm straining to be charitable in calling this misrepresentation
"careless", because in fact FSF are aware at the highest levels that the
FAQ's assertion is factually wrong and misleading (but, one infers, for
their own reasons want people to be persuaded to accept as factual
something they are fully aware is not true at all).

   Q:  I want to distribute binaries via physical media without
       accompanying sources. Can I provide source code by FTP 
       instead of by mail order?
   A:  You're supposed to provide the source code by mail-order on a
       physical medium, if someone orders it.  [...]

Baloney.  GPLv2 clause 3b very plainly specifies a medium customarily
used for software interchange.  In my universe, FTP qualifies as -the- 
prime example, par excellence, of a medium customarily used for software
interchange.


My point?  That merely referring people to external FAQs for information
can be every bit as problematic as -- well -- taking excerpts from
public mailing list postings and assuming those are necessarily good
answers to frequently asked questions.