Subject: Re: GPL and FTP
From: John Gilmore <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 22:39:37 -0800

>						In my opinion, the
> current GPL isn't protecting the FSF agenda very well.  Witness the
> problems: GPL programs you can't ftp, ...

A brief aside.  As recently as a few years ago, when I asked RMS
whether it was OK under the GPL to ship binaries of a product, tell
recipients where they could FTP the source, and put the source code up
for FTP for at least three years, he said no.  An FTP site was not as
good as an offer to give any third party free a copy of the source.

(The idea was for environments such as embedded systems or tv-decoder
boxes where the average user doesn't want the source nor want to be
confused by it.)

I think that Brian, in particular, would prefer FTP access to a
situation where each binary recipient also gets source, but the public

RMS's "no" was before the Internet had really caught on; perhaps the
same question might get a different answer now that the Internet is
pretty well assumed to be accessible by anyone who wants it.  If so,
then more people are likely to take the third prong of the GPL (ship
only binaries, but make source freely available to anyone who asks for
it).  I can't recall a single case of anyone using that third prong
before.  Motorola claimed to, in a port they did of gcc some years
ago, but in fact you couldn't get the source from them -- I tried.