GPL and dsitribution of source code

Jan Wildeboer jan.wildeboer at
Mon May 27 23:23:50 UTC 2002

Tomasz Wegrzanowski wrote:

> 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.

OK. So I have learned this: "Any third party" doesn't mean anyone, only 
those that have got the program - may it be binary or sources - from the 

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

And it also doesn't make a difference if the distributor's work is 
merely a change in our sources we have decided to distribute for free. 
So when any company decides to take our project and distribute it for 
money there is no way for us to enforce them to comply to our policy.

But when any of his customers that has paid the fee decides to 
distribute the program (binary or sources) for free the distributor has 
to accept this as the right of distribution is part of the GPL

>>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.

So in the case we are facing we MUST pay the distributor to gain access 
to a derived work that we programmed? But as soon as we have paid we are 
entitled to distribute again for free at our will?

If that is the case, I will at least know how to react.

But I guess that will still allow me to inform our community of the fact 
that a certain company has decided to not follow the rules we would like 
to see followed but cannot enforce. Or is that something we are not 
allowed to do as we may not put any restrictions on the GPL? It is our 
philosophy to distribute our project for free and we ask all 
contributors to do the same. But as we are not allowed to put 
restrictions like this on top of the GPL I am a bit confused of what I 
can do and what I am not allowed to do.

But thanks anyway for helping me understand the GPL better.

Jan Wildeboer

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