Not only is the user only entitled to a code snapshot, the user is only entitled to a code snapshot for three years after the distribution of the software:

[6b] Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model

Seems vaguely harsh that a company that loses the source code is also no longer allowed to offer customer support, but that's how it goes.

This also applies only to licensees -- a developer who writes some code and licenses it under GPL is not obliged to offer the source code to anyone (although if contributions were accepted, and those licensed under the GPL, the source code would need to be offered).


A license which compelled distribution of the history would seem to also have to compel usage of version control -- while extremely widespread it can't be guaranteed, and if not "we don't use version control, there is no history" would be a simple escape hatch.

Given also that you'll sometimes want to modify the history to remove personal data or passwords or the like, I can only see such a license being anathema in corporations -- it's already widespread to avoid GPL projects in favour of MIT in case of possible legal issues, and having an infectious license that also requires to you give everybody the entire history of the project would be even more dangerous, and possibly conflict with other laws (e.g. GDPR).