Free software and public administrations?

Alessandro Rubini rubini at
Tue Nov 26 14:11:25 UTC 2002

>> I'd like to mention one argument against GPL which can be heard from
>> time to time here.  If the government decides to use the existing GPL
>> software for security related works, then they will have to publish
>> all algorithms which are state secrets now.
> The answer is simple: Any encryption algorithm that allows
> to crack the code from just knowing the algorithm is
> a bad algorithm.

I didn't read the original question (above) in this way. There is code
that is "classified", whatever it is.

And the reply is: you can modify Free Software for your own use
without being forced to redistribute. This applies to copyleft too.
So an organization can take GPL code and add classifed material to
build a new application, for classified use.

This cannot be redistributed at all, and that's fine.  If they must
distribute the executable, than it can't be classified, and the GPL
can be applied (according to what Jan-Oliver says about security, the
only thing that they can complain about in this case).

I'll reply to the other question later this night, unless someone else
does it first.


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