GPL Violation is normal ?

Alceste Scalas alceste at
Wed Nov 6 08:27:14 UTC 2002

On Sat, Nov 02, 2002 at 10:45:05AM +0100, Andreas Schockenhoff
    > have you ever make a online "binary only update" for a friend
    > or in your job?  I think than you make the same GPL violation
    > as you give a binary only CD away?

The GNU GPL says:

    |   3. You may copy and distribute  the Program (or a work based
    | on  it, under  Section 2)  in object  code or  executable form
    | under the  terms of Sections 1  and 2 above  provided that you
    | also do one of the following:
    |     [...]
    |     c) Accompany  it with the  information you received  as to
    |     the offer to  distribute corresponding source code.  (This
    |     alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution
    |     and only  if you  received the program  in object  code or
    |     executable  form  with  such  an  offer,  in  accord  with
    |     Subsection b above.)

So,  if  a  friend  of   yours  downloads  a  copy  of  a  GNU/Linux
distribution  and makes you  a present  of it,  saying that  you can
download  the sources  from the  distro website,  then it  should be
fine: it is a non-commercial distribution.

But, for  example, the  magazines that are  sold together  with Free
Software  CD-ROMs are violating  the GNU  GPL: they're  performing a
commercial distribution, and should offer the source code themselves
without pointing to someone else's website.


Alceste Scalas <alceste at>

CRS4 - Centro di Ricerca, Sviluppo e Studi Superiori in Sardegna
       Center for Advanced Studies, Research and Development in Sardinia

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