[tex-live] Ruby interpreter for Windows in the TeXLive distribution?

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Fri Jun 30 14:14:55 CEST 2006

Hans Hagen <pragma at wxs.nl> writes:

> Sebastian Rahtz wrote:
>> Hans Hagen wrote:
>>>> "Under the GPL" implies that we'd also need to provide the
>>>> corresponding source code or a written offer.
>>> so a pointer to source code would be enough, and maybe even:
>>> google for "ruby source code download"
>> No. The considered legal view is that this
>> is not sufficient to meet the terms of the licence.
>> To comply with the GPL, we must offer to
>> supply the source code to the recipient
>> directly, for the exact version of Ruby which
>> we supply.  A vague "go google for the source
>> if you want" could have the FSF after us.

Only if parts are copyrighted by the FSF itself.  Which is possible
judging from the license text I quoted.  But in that case the whole
dual-license stuff seems somewhat fishy.

> well, then we can put the tar.gz file with the sources alongside (i
> suppose that we don't have to explain in detail how one generates
> the binaries)

The GPL states:

    The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work
    for making modifications to it.  For an executable work, complete
    source code means all the source code for all modules it contains,
    plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts
    used to control compilation and installation of the executable.

> btw, an interesting side effect is that in addition to support on
> the derived work (the tex distribution) user groups may end up in
> providing all kind of support (offering sources, burdning additional
> cd's, hiring web servers to serve the sources, etc); i wonder if
> that's the real intention of gpl.

The real intent is that source (or access to it) accompanies any
binaries.  Yes, this is an expected side effect.  It is the reason all
free software packaging formats have correspondent source packages,
and all GNU/Linux distributions are accompanied by source CDs/DVDs on
the download sites or in the media packs.

> Say that i have 1 meg of webspace and provide a ruby script, does
> that mean that i also need to provide the 10 meg of libraries that
> are used and even the source code of the binaries needed to run them
> ... quite impractical);

Most Ruby scripts would not be considered a derivative of the Ruby
interpreter.  Compiled versions of them might be borderline, as long
as the compiled parts includes GPLed components from the compiler.

> i'd expect that nowadsys, with the availability of networks
> references to locations would be enough; i wonder if such things
> will evolve to more practical ones some day

The problem is that there are no bandwidth guarantees.  I can place a
server online via packet radio, and it will usually be able to provide
enough bandwidth for several Emails a day.  Hard to draw the line
here.  It is also not fair to put the burden on providing the source
on an upstream party.  For example, if Microsoft chose to distribute
some GPLed software from an unsuspecting private person, divulging
itself of the source duty by pointing to his web site, his site would
be shut down because of too high a load.  Then he would either have to
provide the bandwidth at his own cost (for Microsoft's business) or
stop access to the source.  The latter is no option if he already got
parts licensed from somewhere else.

The GPL already states that it is ok to put up the sources at the
_same_ download location where the binaries are gotten from, and that
upstream then can't be made responsible if downstream chooses to
download only the binaries.

The nature of a public license, namely that distribution might get
_far_ larger than expected, makes it mandatory that the source code
duty might not get delegated upstream but should stay with the

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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