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Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code

From: Chris Jefferson
Subject: Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 21:34:27 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.6 (Windows/20040502)

Brian Gough wrote:
Chris Jefferson <> writes:

Also, let me point out that (I hope) I'm not a troll. I've just been working on a project with some friends and we are now considering what licence to release it under. I'd quite like the GPL, but a number of my friends would perfer a "you can read the code, but you can't distribute altered versions" style licence.


Both the scenarios you suggest would allow to you make a legal case
against someone.

Thanks.. just a couple more questions :)

If we put the binary on the website, I get the feeling we have to promise to provide the source FOREVER to anyone who gets a copy of the binary. Surely we don't have to give the source away forever? can we offer the source to download next to the binary and tell people to download both then claim they had the opportunity to get the source and if the didn't take it, tough?

I'm reading this:
The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
making modifications to it.  For an executable work, complete source
code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any
associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to
control compilation and installation of the executable.  However, as a
special exception, the source code distributed need not include
anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary
form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the
operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component
itself accompanies the executable.

Neither mingw or vc++7.1 come with a copy of make or autoconf by default. Do we have to distribute them?

The directX headers aren't distributed either, but you can download them from microsoft's website at the moment. However microsoft has removed old versions of the headers as time goes on? So do we have to distribute them?

Old versions of windows don't come with directX 8. Do we have to distribute that? DirectX 8 wasn't "normally distributed" with windows 95 ,clearly isn't under the GPL and could be removed by microsoft at a later date. In that case can we even use directX unless we get a directX redistribution licence, and even then it's surely a non-gpled library?

Sorry for the questions, but I'm wondering exactly where the line between "things that come with operating system / compiler" and "external libraries" should be drawn.

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