GPL Issue and the linux kernel

Alessandro Rubini rubini at
Tue Feb 25 09:26:55 UTC 2003

> This code is modified by them in order to fully support the hardware
> inside the machine.  Isn't it illeagal to refuse publishing a GPLed
> code?

Worse. It's illegal to _not_ release it together with the binary.  The
only allowed way to not distribute source code is including the
legally binding letter as for GPL.3b.  Asking politely is the best
first move, though (like you did, it seems).

The point is that those resellers aren't the copyright holders on the
software they distribute, so they are bound by license terms set forth
by copyright holders.  The same problem you have with the kernel,
though, applies to every other software package they distribute but
don't write; and most of them are just as GPL as the kernel is.

What they are allowed to do is distributing a customized X server and
not give away source code (nor associated rights), since this is
allowed by the copyright holders of the X server.  The same applies
for other packages with mit-style licenses, but X is still the biggest
and most important such piece of code.

You are right, this is a license violation.


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