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Re: [PROPOSAL] Full text of GPL must be included

At 12:36 pm -0500 on November 30, 2000, Brian Mays wrote:

> "Gustavo Noronha Silva (KoV)" <dockov@zaz.com.br> wrote:
> > I think that "complete work" stands for every work that can be used
> > in any installed system without missing parts... just like fileutils
> > and debhelper. Debian distribution is for me an selection of complete
> > works that are all packaged together.
> By this definition, the "ls" binary itself is a complete work, and should 

I don't think the relevant section of the GPL (section 1) makes any
mention of a complete (or incomplete) work.  It only talks about
Programs, and Programs are defined in section 0 as _any_ "program or
other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying
it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License."
Rando Christensen has pointed out that /bin/ls qualifies as a Program
under this definition:

        xanielle:/bin% strings ls
        <Much snippy here>
        This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.  There is NO
        warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR

So if you copy or distribute it to other people you must provide them with a
copy of the GPL.

How else would you interpret the text below?

GPL>   0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains
GPL> a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed
GPL> under the terms of this General Public License.  The "Program", below,
GPL> refers to any such program or work

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

GPL>   3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
GPL> under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
GPL> Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

> have an entire copy of the GPL built into it (readable perhaps by typing 
> "ls --GPL").   Certainly this is not the intent.
> For many GPLed sources, the individual files can be pulled out an used 
> separately from the rest of the source.  Nevertheless, one copy of the GPL 
> suffices for the entire tree.  Why shouldn't one copy of the GPL suffice 
> for our entire distribution?

In your example the individual files are being extracted from the source
*after* the user has already received the source.tar.gz and thus also
already received the GPL.  The source tarball is the Program.  One copy
of the GPL in the source tarball suffices.

Think of it this way: each "downloadable entity" that meets the above
definition of "Program" needs to have the GPL inside it (or you need to
make sure that each person that downloads the file gets a copy of the
GPL from you).

If its a deb, one GPL suffices.  Same with .tar.gzs.  If it's a .c in
an unpacked source tree, that too needs a copy of the GPL if it meets
the definition of a Program ("contains a notice placed by the copyright
holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General
Public License.").

_Yes_ its absurd.  But that's not my problem; I didn't write the license.

> > I think that this discussion about "What GPL says..." is not taking
> > us to anywhere... let's ask the one who wrote the license then!?  We
> > should ask him to aprove/disaprove the many suggestions we have had
> > here.
> The terms of a license are determined by what the license *actually* says, 
> not by what its author *meant* to say.  "What the GPL says ..." is the key 
> point of this debate.

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