[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: One unclear point in the Vim license

Scripsit Branden Robinson <branden@debian.org>

> > If you got this executable by (for instance) downloading the
> > executable from debian.org, where the source was available but you did
> > not get it, then you can't redistribute.  You have to get the source
> > code, and redistribute with the source code.

> Eh?  I can't redistribute a binary even if I haven't modified it?

Correct. That actually makes good sense, as the GPL does not
distinguish between "the official FSF release of GNU foobar" and "a
version of GNU foobar that somebody between the FSF and you have

Your expectation would open a loophole for taking derived versions

1. Richard writes a C compiler and releases it under the GPL.

2. Paul downloads the compiler from Richard's web site, and enhances
   it with some Really Cool optimization passes and a new back end.

3. Paul distributes the modified compiler privately to William along
   with a written offer to provide the source code later.

4. William burns the written offer and starts selling binaries (only) to
   people. He does not offer the source code to his customers because
   he has not modified the binary he got from Paul.

5. Later, William and Paul split the profits.

> This practice is really forbidden by the GPL?

Yes, and with good reason.

(In practise people can of course share binaries between each other,
as long as they don't tell anybody about it. As long as both parties
are aware that the source *can* be gotten off the net, this is not
a problem in practise).

Henning Makholm        "*Dansk Folkeparti*, nazistisk orienteret dansk parti
                1941-1945, grundlagt af Svend E. Johansen og Th.M. Andersen"

Reply to: