GPL and dsitribution of source code

Tomasz Wegrzanowski taw at
Mon May 27 22:52:48 UTC 2002

On Tue, May 28, 2002 at 12:24:49AM +0200, Jan Wildeboer wrote:
> Tomasz Wegrzanowski wrote:
> >GPL doesn't give you right to request the sources.
> >They may not give you them or require any fee they want.
> >This clause applies ONLY to binary-only distribution.
> >If they haven't given/sold you the binary, they don't have
> >to give you the sources.
> So I can deduct this:
> If a binary is distributed for a fee I am entitled to receive the 
> sources according to GPL 3b at a minimum charge covering only the costs 
> of the physical transfer.

Only if YOU got this binary, you are entitled to get the sources.
The fact that someone distributes binary or sources to other people
doesn't entitle you to anything.

> If the usual format are sources there is no way to force the distributor 
> to send me the sources for a minimum charge covering only the costs of 
> the physical transfer.

There is no way to force the distributor, no matter if he distributes
binaries or not.

> Is this coorect? And does it reflect the general philosophy of the Free 
> Software community?

Yes. Yes.

> As I may not put restrictions on top of the GPL I have no way of 
> enforcing the general philosophy of our project (sources are available 
> for free)?

You don't have any way.

> Is that something that other see as a flaw in the GPL? Or am I alone 
> with my opinion?

It's not a flaw. Licence that would force you to distribute code
(sources or binary) that you wanted to keep for yourself would be
non-free according to DFSG and OSI definition.

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