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Is it ok if I put an email address in "About" of application, and every user who asks for the source code emails me and I send him/her by email?

It’s an Android application and I will distribute it using the Play store and other similar stores.

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Technically it might be allowed, but only if you distribute your application by email. While email isn't a generally allowed form of source code distribution, using the same distribution method for both binaries and source is allowed.

The logic is simple: if you emailed the binaries, the customer obviously has email, so you may rely on further email distribution. You can't assume the user has email when he downloaded the binaries via a play store.

Note that it is valid to include the source code directly with the play store download. Also, extra download methods are always allowed: "You may convey verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium" [Emphasis mine]. Email isn't banned; it just cannot be the only method.

  • Why would it be allowed only if the application is distributed by email? And why would email not be a generally allowed for source code dist? Do you have a reference to support this assertion? – Philippe Ombredanne May 8 '17 at 12:48
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    @PhilippeOmbredanne: Because the GPL says so: the source should be available on a a Network server (e.g. HTTP/FTP), a Peer-to-Peer network, and/or via the same medium as the binary was delivered. (E.g. both via email, or both via Google play store). And as I point out, email is generally allowed, it's just insufficient in the general case. See section 6 which spells it all out. – MSalters May 8 '17 at 13:01

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