This question extends my last question about 'How to comply with the GPL when providing auto updates'.

Problem description:

I want to distribute a Debian VM with Debian based docker containers, so far I would just extract the entire source code after the VM is configured and provide the source code on a physical medium e.g. USB-Stick and thus complying with the GPL by providing the source code alongside the binary.

The problem is that some of my smaller customers don't want to update the VM themselves.

This poses the question on how to update the debian VM and the docker containers for my customer without constantly having to provide the source code for the updated version. (I do not want to manage all the different source code versions, so I want to deliver the source code once and then the customer or some tool should to the updates)

Possible Solutions:

If I provide an admin tool that let's the customer update the Debian VM and the Debian based docker containers from public repositories e.g the official Debian repository and docker hub for the base containers, would it then be enough to give my customer only the source code for the delivered GPL programs within the Debian vm and containers on an USB drive to comply with the various GPL licenses ?

Could this tool also be automated e.g. with a cron job ?

Let's say my customer pays me again to do the updates as a service for him manually e.g accessing his server because he hired me to update the software, am I correct in assuming that this would not count as distribution because I act on behalf of my customer and only use public repositories (default debian ftp to update debian and docker hub plus my docker scripts to update the containers)?

  • 1
    If the customer has installed the binary and source packages already, I don't understand why your admin tool wouldn't just update them both. On the other hand, if the customer only installed the binary, then you only need to update the binary. This is how basically all Linux-based package managers work. Presumably the repository takes care of source distribution in that case. – Brandin Jan 21 '19 at 13:03
  • @Brandin hm yes I could just update the source code as well, that's another solution I did not think about 😆, that way I can just ship the vm with the code inside the vm... – MADforFUNandHappy Jan 21 '19 at 15:07
  • @Brandin the system update binaries source code distribution is covered by the Debian repository that's true. In case I build the docker container will however have to provide the source code for each update – MADforFUNandHappy Jan 21 '19 at 16:15
  • I don't understand why this isn't just the same question you asked before? What's the distinction here? – Josh Berkus Jan 25 '19 at 22:31
  • @Josh Berkus well my previous question was more broad and thus I was encouraged to ask this separate question – MADforFUNandHappy Jan 25 '19 at 23:06

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