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Re: Free Software Clarification

Peter S Galbraith wrote:
> I wrote:
> > A friend is considering releasing a useful package, but wants to keep
> > exclusive rights eventual commercial distribution.  He doesn't want someone
> > to take the code, modify it, and then sell the result.  He has no problems
> > with distribution fees associated with packaging a group of software on CD.
> > This is okay with DFSG, right?
> "Greg Vence" wrote:
> > The only potential problem I'd see is in his intent to keep rights to
> > 'eventual commercial distribution.'  It seems we're going through
> > something quite similar with X.
> Yes, but that's allowed.  Isn't it?
> His intent is not to sell it, but wouldn't want someone else to make a
> bundle on his back.
It is allowed until your friend wants to issue a commercial version. 
However, this means that he would not be able to use the GPL.

GPL doesn't let anyone 'make money' off it; not even the author. 
However, anyone can modify it.  Often people offer bug fixes and
performance & feature improvements.

> > The rest of what you described follows the GPL quite well.  The only
> > chage is here when GPL would say that there can _never_ be a commercial
> > release of this code.
> But the license doesn't apply to the copyright holder.  He would be allowed
> to sell a future (probably enhanced) version, but could not withdraw the
> original GPL version from circulation.  Thus the users are `protected'
> in the sense that the free version will also be free.

I believe that GPL prevents _any_ derived work from being commercial. 
LGPL does the same except that commercial applications may link to them.
(ie compile using its header).  I'm fairly certain that GPL applies to
the author as well as others.  Does someone else know more?  

I haven't read anything in the GPL about this exception.  The reason is
that anyone can modify the GPL source and redistribute it.  GPL seems to
be a "once saved always saved" program. :)  

Of course this may not be what your friend wants.

 -- Greg.
What do you want to spend today?
Debian GNU/Linux  (Free for an UNLIMITED time) 
Greg Vence    KH2EA/4

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