GPL and dsitribution of source code

Frank Heckenbach frank at
Tue May 28 07:10:47 UTC 2002

Jan Wildeboer wrote:

> Unfortunately I am not sure about this. This question deals with binary
> distributions. But our application is distributed in source form. We 
> have been informed that when source code is the normal form of 
> distribution GPL 3 is out of scope. I dont like this, but I cannot be 
> sure if that is true or not. That's why I am asking.
> The GPL seems to be focused on binary distribution. That's why I am 
> sking if it is a flaw in the GPL when it comes to interpreted language 
> that is usually distributed in source form. If in this cae GPL 3 is out 
> of scope I am not able to receive the sources. That would be something I 
> find hard to accept.

Technically §3 might be applicable if the source in an interpreted
language can be considered "object code or executable form" as well.

However, the main point, in my understanding, is that §3 allows 3
options to the distributor. In this case, he obviously choses option
a) because the source is identical to the "executable form".
Therefore options b) and c) are not applicable.

In effect that's not really different from a compiled program which
is distributed according to option a). You can either accept the
distributor's terms (price etc.) and get the binary with sources, or
find someone who did so and who is willing to share it with you.


Frank Heckenbach, frank at
GnuPG and PGP keys: (7977168E)

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