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Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code
Date: 15 Jun 2004 11:38:45 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.3.50

Chris Jefferson <> writes:

> David Kastrup wrote:
> > Barry Margolin <> writes:
> > 
> >>In article <cal259$jcl$>,
> >> Chris Jefferson <> wrote:
> >>
> >> I think putting both binary and source next to each other on a
> >> distribution site is generally considered to meet the requirement
> >> to "accompany [the binary form] with the ... source code" in
> >> section 3a of the GPL.
> >>
> >> Also, even if it didn't, where did you get the idea that you have
> >> to provide source code forever?  Section 3b specifically says
> >> "Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
> >> years...."  You could make it valid forever if you wanted, but
> >> you're only required to support 3 years.
> > And only if you have not met 3a instead.  If you always put up
> > binary
> > and source code together up, according to 3a, nobody can blame you if
> > you take them down together again.
> > 

> Good, thats one of the most important things, sorry I should have
> not written forever, but 3 years. On the other hand 3 years is still
> a long time :) But a more careful reading says yes, all we have to
> do is distribute source and binaries in the same place and we are
> done. Thanks :)

Note that if the software is written completely by yourself, you can
do whatever you want with it: the GPL gives the recipient no
warranties of any kind from the copyright holder.  The above
redistribution stuff is only binding for you if your software is
derived from GPLed code from somebody else.  However, it would be in
the spirit of a public licence if you followed the rules you set for
your users yourself and thus set a good example.

It is quite possible for the sole copyright holder of some work to
publish binary-only software under the GPL: since the recipients are
then unable to comply with the conditions for redistribution, this is
equivalent to not giving them any licence for redistribution at all.

While it is legal, it is not in the spirit of the licence and likely
to earn you bad blood.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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