Sounds like an opportunity for a reputable source code broker.
Here's the concept: source code broker doesn't charge anything to
the people providing source, but charges clients who order the
source the nominal distribution charge. People who want to use
FSF software but not distribute source send a copy off to the
source code broker, who takes responsibility for the re-distribution
of the result.
Ok, I'll offer my services as a source code broker (see, you can't
say they don't exist any more).
301/369-2473 (this week phone is out of order, so instead use):
<email@example.com> (or <firstname.lastname@example.org> -- winds up in same mailbox).
9436 Fairview Ave
Laurel, MD 20723-1712
Provide me with three copies of the source on acceptable media (in case
one goes bad), and some unique name for the source (which should include
your company name, or some trademark you or your company owns) so I
can recognize what to send to people. [But contact me on the phone,
first, so we can make sure that we understand each other.]
If three copies is a problem, send me one copy with md5sum(s) and be
prepared to send me another if the md5sum doesn't match what you sent.
If contacting me by phone is a problem, contact me via email (be
aware that this will take longer).
*If* you want an official acknowledgement/contract, send me $20 with
the source. I'll drop my price on this if (a) people actually use this
service, and (b) I hear that this is an obstacle. Sorry: right now I'm
a startup and am worried I might have not considered all costs. The
contract will state that I'll offer the source code for five years from
when you make the source code available to me.
If you do want a contract, but want different contract terms, say so --
I'm just pulling numbers out of the air here so I can have a reasonable
default. If you want a commitment for multiple versions or whatever, say
I'll charge $100/copy for source. I'll be reasonably prompt at shipping
except when backlogged. I may put up an ftp site if I start getting
more orders than I can comfortably handle, or if someone volunteers
the space. In case of problems, I'll make a best effort to
come up with an alternate solution.
3.5" 1440k floppies
100MB zip cartridges
ISO 19660 cdroms
If there's demand, I might consider other media (e.g. prom, dat tapes,
..). I'd charge a bit more for distribution of source on prom... If
it's a problem, I'll probably accept source in email (uuencoded or MIME
encoded tar). If there's demand, I may even put up a web site.
Feel free to copy this message wherever you like. If you change the
content, either remove my name and contact information, or give me a
chance to first look at it (and the right to change it further or reject
it). If you want something snazzier than this message, please contact
I can't do much about the cost of software you've already written off,
and already have installed. But, at least I'll be able to see if you're
right about the source-code distribution requirement being a real problem.
[Note: if other people do this same kind of support, please let me know
if you get any customers.]