[PLUG] some clarifications on GPL

Nishit Dave stargazer.dave at gmail.com
Mon Jan 8 09:57:18 PST 2007


Continued from previous post...

Recently, there was some controversy whether (small-sized)
creators/distributors of say Knoppix or SimplyMepis should be distributing
the source code under the GPL, in addition to their own modifications, and
this is a big grey area.  AFAIK, there is a compromise resolution that such
authors may need to store complete source code versions for each of their
public releases on a web server accessible to all.  This problem is now
being addressed under the GPLv3 for disambiguation, but till recently, they
might have been in default.

In the end, I believe that if you are using GPL code in your program, or are
planning to develop a program for somebody (from scratch) under GPL, you
*should* provide the source code to ensure their four freedoms.  If the said
recipient further modifies and redistributes the program, if the GPL is
followed, his recipients (which could also be you) will have a right to
receive the source code of the modifications as well as the original source
code (or a link to it if you maintain it).  Storage is cheap, so you can
maintain say a version-by-version tree under SVN and provide it at
reasonable cost to your program's (or it's derivative work's) users.

Contrary to Linus Torvalds' rationale in choosing GPLv2 (and no further) as
the kernel's license, rms maintains that it favours the users' freedom, not
necessarily the developer's rights.  And this world would only gain if we
return more to it than we take away.

Nishit Dave


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