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

Re: Binaries under GPL(2)

4-Dec-03 20:44 Walter Landry wrote:
> Alexander Cherepanov <cherepan@mccme.ru> wrote:
>> 30-Nov-03 16:37 Don Armstrong wrote:
>> > If you read section 2 this way, then there is no need for a section 3
>> > at all.
>> And that (together with the intention of the license expressed in
>> Preamble) seems to be the only reason why Section 2 cannot be
>> interpreted as permitting to distribute binaries. There are no direct
>> arguments. Sadly...

> You still need section 3 if you want to distribute modified binaries
> and remain sane,

Why? If you can distribute some binaries under Section 2 that means
that there is no requirement of source form in it. Then you can
distribute any binaries under Section 2.

> or you don't have the rights to major components of
> the operating system that are present in the binary.

You talk about a special exception in Section 3? It only relaxes the
requirement of distribution of source code along with binaries.
Binaries themselves must be distributed "under the terms of Sections 1
and 2". If that is possible then Section 3 is not needed. If that is
not possible then Section 3 cannot help.

(Yeah, GPL looks very funny: If you cannot distribute a binary under
the terms of Section 2 then you need to distribute it "under the terms
of Sections 1 and 2" according to Section 3.)

> This is really such a small loophole.  It basically allows someone to
> distribute a binary that they _completely_ own and call it GPL'd.  You
> can't take away the copyleft of any other GPL'd programs.

If Section 2 allows someone (not copyright holder) to distribute a
binary, there are only two alternatives IMHO: either

  1. Section 2 doesn't require source form of anything distributable;

  2. This binary is source. There are also two possibilities here:

    a) it's really source; or

    b) it's treated as source because real source is not available.

2a is not the case. AFAIUI there is a consensus that 2b is wrong. And
1 breaks copyleft entirely. What else is possible?

OTOH everything becomes moot when such subtle matters as intention
are involved. If an author places his binary under GPL then it's very
probable that the binary is intended to be redistributable, no matter
what exactly is written in the license.


Reply to: