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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: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 10:30:58 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 0.6 (Windows/20040502)

David Kastrup wrote:

Chris Jefferson <> writes:

Tim Smith wrote:

On 2004-06-14, Chris Jefferson <> wrote:

Now, we realise that evil people could always just ignore the GPL, that
isn't a fault of the GPL. But are these two things possible?

They can also ignore any non-GPL license, such as what your friends
want to
use.  Your first two questions basically have no bearing on choice of

No, my question is, can people do these things and remain legally
within the GPL? I now get the impression they cannot. Even if they
distribute source, they must make it clear they are distributing an
altered copy of the program even within the binary, and cannot make
small changes like removing copyright notices from the binary and

Why don't you read the GPL if you want to use it as a licence?

Excerpt of the first sections:

  1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate
copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the
notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty;
and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License
along with the Program.

You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and
you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.

  2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion
of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and
distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1
above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

    a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices
    stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

    b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
    whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
    part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
    parties under the terms of this License.

    c) If the modified program normally reads commands interactively
    when run, you must cause it, when started running for such
    interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an
    announcement including an appropriate copyright notice and a
    notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide
    a warranty) and that users may redistribute the program under
    these conditions, and telling the user how to view a copy of this
    License.  (Exception: if the Program itself is interactive but
    does not normally print such an announcement, your work based on
    the Program is not required to print an announcement.)

OK. I've read it. I read this as saying that someone can alter the source code, and mention they've changed it in the source and distribute it. However they do not have to make it clear in the normal execution of the binary that they have made any changes. This is in my opinion unacceptable if it's true.
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