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From: fink@et.msc.edu (Paul Fink)
Crossposted-To: gnu.misc.discuss,comp.unix.bsd
Subject: distributing linux on floppies
Date: 7 Oct 92 16:44:02 GMT


I think it might be more appropriate for linux distribution to be done
by a user group rather than a for profit company.

The only user group I belonged to was a Mac group back when Macs were new.
and part of its function was distribution of PD software on floppies.

If we could get a Linux user group going in a community with sufficient
resources they could handle making a set of master floppies and
arranging for bulk copying.

I have not heard of any Linux groups but I would be glad to help organize
one.

Paul

From: terry@cs.weber.edu (A Wizard of Earth C)
Crossposted-To: gnu.misc.discuss,comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: distributing linux on floppies
Date: 8 Oct 92 20:05:27 GMT
Reply-To: terry@icarus.weber.edu

In article < 1992Oct7.164402.29427@uc.msc.edu> fink@et.msc.edu (Paul Fink) writes:
>
>I think it might be more appropriate for linux distribution to be done
>by a user group rather than a for profit company.

Not only appropriate, but the only possible mechanism, short of self
distribution over a network.  From the GPL:

  "1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source
 code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and
 appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and
 disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this
 General Public License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any
 other recipients of the Program a copy of this General Public License
 along with the Program.  You may charge a fee for the physical act of
 transferring a copy."

In particular, the last sentence, "You may charge a fee for the physical
act of transferring a copy" prevents centralized distribution; this is
because only the distributor may make money; no money may be made from
at the retail outlet, unless the retail outlet provides direct support
or copy production facilities.  The only other alternative is that the
company producing the copies pays the retailer per copy sold.  This is
illegal in the US, and, I suspect, elsewhere (it's called a "kickback").

Thus we require technically skilled retailers (ha ha, it is to laugh, it
is to make fun of) or legalization of kickbacks.

A change in the GPL from "a fee" to "fees" and "the physical act of
transferring" to "providing" would fix that by allowing a markup at a
distributor and again at a retail outlet.  Until then, you aren't going to
see things under GPL in retail outlets except as a "free addon" to other
packages, such as is currently done with the GNU compilers.

The inability of Ingram Micro-D or Softsell or Egghead Software to produce
something which the retailer can mark up will keep GPL "protected" software
from becoming commodity.  The inability of "Joe Schmoe Software" to provide
a pallatte of boxed software which they will support will keep distributors
(like Ingram and company) from distributing it, and lack of ability to make
money on a prepackaged product will keep "Joe Retailer" from selling it,
unless "Joe Retailer" is also "Joe Consulting".

This is my main problem with GPL (there are others which I've stated before)
and the one I think will prevent full packages which can't be incorporated
as part of another package from being sold retail, which is currently the
only way to reach the large scale distribution necessary to make the GPL
software anything other than a hacker/academic curiosity.

My 4 cents.


                                        Terry Lambert
                                        terry@icarus.weber.edu
                                        terry_lambert@novell.com
---
Any opinions in this posting are my own and not those of my present
or previous employers.
-- 
===============================================================================
                                        "I have an 8 user poetic license" - me
 Get the 386bsd FAQ from agate.berkeley.edu:/pub/386BSD/386bsd-0.1/unofficial
===============================================================================

From: eric@tantalus.nrl.navy.mil (Eric Youngdale)
Crossposted-To: gnu.misc.discuss,comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: distributing linux on floppies
Date: 8 Oct 92 20:45:54 GMT

In article <1992Oct8.200527.1567@fcom.cc.utah.edu> terry@icarus.weber.edu writes:
>In article <1992Oct7.164402.29427@uc.msc.edu> fink@et.msc.edu (Paul Fink) writes:
>>
>>I think it might be more appropriate for linux distribution to be done
>>by a user group rather than a for profit company.
>
>Not only appropriate, but the only possible mechanism, short of self
>distribution over a network.  From the GPL:
>
>  "1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source
> code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and
> appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and
> disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this
> General Public License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any
> other recipients of the Program a copy of this General Public License
> along with the Program.  You may charge a fee for the physical act of
> transferring a copy."
>
>In particular, the last sentence, "You may charge a fee for the physical
>act of transferring a copy" prevents centralized distribution; this is
>because only the distributor may make money; no money may be made from
>at the retail outlet, unless the retail outlet provides direct support
>or copy production facilities.  The only other alternative is that the

        That clause only applies to source code.  Section 3 applies to
binaries:

***********************************************
  3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

    a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
    source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections
    1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

    b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
    years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your
    cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete
    machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
    distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
    customarily used for software interchange; or,

    c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer
    to distribute corresponding source code.  (This alternative is
    allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you
    received the program in object code or executable form with such
    an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)


***********************************************

        A linux/gnu shrink-wrapped distribution could consist of a box with the
binary distribution on floppies in it, a manual, a pair of 3d glasses, and
information about how to order the source code diskettes.  The charge for the
source code diskettes would be limited to just the usual media charges,
but you could charge anything you want for the shrink-wrapped box itself.
Note that someone else could copy your disks and sell them themselves,
and this would be perfectly legal (as long as they also made the source
code available).

-Eric

-- 
Eric Youngdale


From: edguer@ces.cwru.edu (Aydin Edguer)
Crossposted-To: gnu.misc.discuss,comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: distributing linux on floppies
Date: 8 Oct 1992 21:06:29 GMT

In article < 1992Oct8.200527.1567@fcom.cc.utah.edu> terry@icarus.weber.edu writes:
>In particular, the last sentence, "You may charge a fee for the physical
>act of transferring a copy" prevents centralized distribution; this is
>because only the distributor may make money; no money may be made from
>at the retail outlet, unless the retail outlet provides direct support
>or copy production facilities.  The only other alternative is that the
>company producing the copies pays the retailer per copy sold.  This is
>illegal in the US, and, I suspect, elsewhere (it's called a "kickback").

Excuse me, but where do you get your interpretation from?

When the distributer sells a copy of software covered by the GPL to a
retailer, they are transferring a copy.  When the retailer sells a copy
of software covered by the GPL to a customer, they are transferring a
copy.  Money can be made from the sale and distribution of software
covered by the GPL.

The important thing a distributor and retailer must keep in mind is that
they must distribute the source code, or provide a method of obtaining
the source code for up to three years, and that they cannot limit the
redistribution of the software.  If a local user group wants to purchase
a copy of the distribution and sell duplicates for less than the retailer
or distributor, the retailer or distributor may not stop them from
competing.

Aydin Edguer
Lost as usual

Crossposted-To: gnu.misc.discuss,comp.unix.bsd
From: terry@cs.weber.edu (A Wizard of Earth C)
Subject: Re: distributing linux on floppies
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 92 00:16:07 GMT

In article <1b27slINNj2f@usenet.INS.CWRU.Edu> edguer@ces.cwru.edu (Aydin Edguer) writes:
>In article <1992Oct8.200527.1567@fcom.cc.utah.edu> terry@icarus.weber.edu writes:
>>In particular, the last sentence, "You may charge a fee for the physical
>>act of transferring a copy" prevents centralized distribution; this is
>>because only the distributor may make money; no money may be made from
>>at the retail outlet, unless the retail outlet provides direct support
>>or copy production facilities.  The only other alternative is that the
>>company producing the copies pays the retailer per copy sold.  This is
>>illegal in the US, and, I suspect, elsewhere (it's called a "kickback").
>
>Excuse me, but where do you get your interpretation from?

By choosing a  definition of "transfer" which does not equate to a change
in posession or ownership.  The interpretation is too subjective.  In
addition, there is a difference between one fee and several fees.

>When the distributer sells a copy of software covered by the GPL to a
>retailer, they are transferring a copy.  When the retailer sells a copy
>of software covered by the GPL to a customer, they are transferring a
>copy.  Money can be made from the sale and distribution of software
>covered by the GPL.

*Not* the sale; *only* the distribution, and *only* for a single markup
from origin (Ie: use of a multimarkup distribution channel is *not*
allowed, in that it involves more than one fee).

There is, of course, the alternative of each person in the chain bieng
a source code guarantor, but it is unlikely that a retail store will go for
this.

The *only* way to sell software you don't hold title to is to mark it up
or add value... GPL eliminates the middleman, or at least the profit
motive which causes a middleman to be involved.  The result is no access
to existing distribution channels.

>The important thing a distributor and retailer must keep in mind is that
>they must distribute the source code, or provide a method of obtaining
>the source code for up to three years, and that they cannot limit the
>redistribution of the software.

Which requires an escrow arrangement, because many dealers can not guarantee
they will be in business or under the same management in 3 years.  A dealer
is pretty stupid if he buys into this, for obvious reasons.

>If a local user group wants to purchase a copy of the distribution and sell
>duplicates for less than the retailer or distributor, the retailer or
>distributor may not stop them from competing.

Barring the fact that I hold a copyright on the "3d glasses" and related
materials, and that they can *only* distribute the software itself, this
is yet another reason a dealer and distributor wouldn't carry GPL'ed
software: No margin after a user group member buys the first copy.  What
is a distributor or dealers incentive for carring a product he's going
to sell one copy of, and that will compete with products the dealer and
distributor will make a reasonable margin on?  Again, GPL software is
cut off from normal distribution channels.


                                        Terry Lambert
                                        terry@icarus.weber.edu
                                        terry_lambert@novell.com
---
Any opinions in this posting are my own and not those of my present
or previous employers.
-- 
===============================================================================
                                        "I have an 8 user poetic license" - me
 Get the 386bsd FAQ from agate.berkeley.edu:/pub/386BSD/386bsd-0.1/unofficial
===============================================================================

From: eric@tantalus.nrl.navy.mil (Eric Youngdale)
Crossposted-To: gnu.misc.discuss,comp.unix.bsd
Subject: Re: distributing linux on floppies
Date: 9 Oct 92 02:31:37 GMT

In article < 1992Oct9.001607.7471@fcom.cc.utah.edu> 
terry@cs.weber.edu (A Wizard of Earth C) writes:
>In article < 1b27slINNj2f@usenet.INS.CWRU.Edu> 
>edguer@ces.cwru.edu (Aydin Edguer) writes:
>>In article < 1992Oct8.200527.1567@fcom.cc.utah.edu> terry@icarus.weber.edu writes:
>>>In particular, the last sentence, "You may charge a fee for the physical
>>>act of transferring a copy" prevents centralized distribution; this is
>>>because only the distributor may make money; no money may be made from
>>>at the retail outlet, unless the retail outlet provides direct support
>>>or copy production facilities.  The only other alternative is that the
>>>company producing the copies pays the retailer per copy sold.  This is
>>>illegal in the US, and, I suspect, elsewhere (it's called a "kickback").
>>
>>Excuse me, but where do you get your interpretation from?
>
>By choosing a  definition of "transfer" which does not equate to a change
>in posession or ownership.  The interpretation is too subjective.  In
>addition, there is a difference between one fee and several fees.
>
>>When the distributer sells a copy of software covered by the GPL to a
>>retailer, they are transferring a copy.  When the retailer sells a copy
>>of software covered by the GPL to a customer, they are transferring a
>>copy.  Money can be made from the sale and distribution of software
>>covered by the GPL.
>
>*Not* the sale; *only* the distribution, and *only* for a single markup
>from origin (Ie: use of a multimarkup distribution channel is *not*
>allowed, in that it involves more than one fee).

        I do not see how you reach this conclusion.  Could you please explain
where it says that a multimarkup distribution channel is not allowed?

        If this were the case, then I could not load GPL software on a BBS that
had a charge for connect time if the software had come from a tape that I had
purchased, but it would be permissible if I had downloaded it via ftp (provided
that I did not have to pay for the ftp connection).

        Also, I think you are still missing the distinction between
distributing binaries and distributing source code.  There is no language in
section 3 that limits the markup or profit for binary distributions.  You just
have to make the source code available for a nominal distribution fee.

        Also, I see no reason that the retailer needs to worry about the source
code distribution, since the person who puts together the binaries should be
the responsible party.

>Which requires an escrow arrangement, because many dealers can not guarantee
>they will be in business or under the same management in 3 years.  A dealer
>is pretty stupid if he buys into this, for obvious reasons.

        If I were a dealer, I would take a more pragmatic approach.  I would
figure that if I went out of business, the users would be screwed, and there
would not be a heck of a lot that anyone could do about it.  What is the worst
that could happen?  Someone could sue a bankrupt company??

>Barring the fact that I hold a copyright on the "3d glasses" and related
>materials, and that they can *only* distribute the software itself, this
>is yet another reason a dealer and distributor wouldn't carry GPL'ed
>software: No margin after a user group member buys the first copy.  What

        The very same thing happens with copyrighted software.  I have seen
estimates that only 20% of software is actually paid for, and the rest is
pirate copies.  Everyone knows that it goes on, and nearly everyone does it.
For example, have you noticed how many Lotus books there are in bookstores?
Why would anyone who bought Lotus need an additional book?

        The other thing is that a nice manual will make it worth it for someone
to buy the package even after they have the binaries, and this is something
that you *do* have a copyright on.

>is a distributor or dealers incentive for carring a product he's going
>to sell one copy of, and that will compete with products the dealer and
>distributor will make a reasonable margin on?  Again, GPL software is
>cut off from normal distribution channels.

        I think the main thing that cuts the GPL software out of normal
channels is the fact that most distributors are unfamiliar with GPL types
of licenses, and there are a lot of misconceptions about what GPL means, and
what is allowed under GPL.

-Eric
-- 
Eric Youngdale

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