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Re: Sharing the GPL source code, with value addition by vendor specific

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Sharing the GPL source code, with value addition by vendor specific to his hardware?
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:03:35 -0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Hyman Rosen <> writes:

> On 10/12/2010 3:30 AM, Alexander Terekhov wrote:
>> Do you mean
>>    GPL-free code + GPL-contaminated code = GPL-contaminated whole work
>> GNUtian theory?
> That's not a theory, those are the terms of the license.
> As courts have determined, users are not free to ignore
> terms of software licenses.
>> Well, the FSF-while-in-court is on record:
>> "In fact, the GPL itself rejects any automatic aggregation of software
>> copyrights under the GPL simply because one program licensed under the
>> GPL is distributed together with another program that is not licensed
>> under the GPL: "In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based
>> on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program)
>> on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the
>> other work under the scope of this License."
> Precisely. If the OP's software is merely aggregated on the same
> distribution medium as GPLed software, it is likely that the OP will
> not be required to distribute it under the terms of the GPL. However
> the OP sounded like there was a more intimate association involved,
> in which case distribution is permitted only under the terms of the
> GPL.

The GPL demands delivery of the corresponding source code.  If the
binaries are delivered in a way where you can no longer separate them,
the corresponding source code would need to encompass the whole binary.
Things become more complex if the binaries _can_ be separated (delivery
of unlinked files or shared libraries, where the proprietary component
needs at most such header files for compilation that contain no
copyrightable content).  Then opinions become more diverse and legal
precedence much thinner.

But the case for which the question has been asked sounds quite more
clear than that.

David Kastrup

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