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Re: What GPL requirements are implied by publishing an ISO with GRUB bin

From: Thomas Schmitt
Subject: Re: What GPL requirements are implied by publishing an ISO with GRUB binaries ?
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2017 09:43:31 +0200


SevenBits Tech wrote:
> it is my understanding that, yes, you are required to provide the
> source code used to build the compiled binary.

Agreed. But normally it suffices to point to the place from where one
got the published sources of the free software which one forwards.
E.g. with xorriso releases, you can point to
and propose to use the tarball with the matching version number.

The point of wiki is that GRUB is/was around in many versions
which are not based on a GRUB release with tarball at a reliable public URL.

In the case that GRUB stems from a binary distro package, i'd say it
suffices to tell the exact name of the package and the URL where the
GRUB packages of that distro can be found. Nevertheless, this raises
the question what to do if the distro vanishes or makes outdated versions
of their packages unavailable.
(Interesting extra question: If you cease offering the binary, how long
 are you obliged to still offer the old source ? Endlessly ?)

In the case of a git based version, one can point to
and give instructions how to obtain the corresponding source from a
particular commit revision.

Since GRUB on ISO is likely to change hands, we have the situation that
each of the GRUB users of this case has to be aware of the obligations by
GPL, which do not apply to the use case of making the own computer bootable.

I think ideas are too rigid. Best would be if GRUB would help
its ISO producing users to fulfill GPL in a mostly automatic way. At least
with released GRUB versions, if it is not possible with versions pulled
from git.

A clarification on GRUB's grub-mkrescue documentation page seems necessary.

> Where are you distributing your ISO?

It is not about my use cases but about my standard advice as author of
xorriso to use grub-mkrescue when one starts with developing bootable ISOs.
In general, the GPL makes no difference between giving a copy to a friend
or making a business out of it.

Have a nice day :)


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