GPL and server appliances

Samuel Liddicott sam at
Tue Jul 27 14:52:20 UTC 2004

Stefano Maffulli wrote:

>On Tue, 2004-07-27 at 15:41, Samuel Liddicott wrote:
>>I think you are mistaken. If I install software on my machine and then
>>co-locate my machine I am hardly distributing the software.
>If you rent your machine with software installed to a third party then
>you are distributing not only the hw but also the software.  Therefore
>the GNU GPL applies and must be obeyed.  This is the opionion of the
>FSFs lawyers, US and Europe.
I suppose the original question was not clear:

On Mon, 2004-07-26 at 22:22, Jerome Alet wrote:

>say some company (A) enhances your software, install the new 
>combined product on a server appliance, and put the server appliance 
>at a third party company (B, its client), but DOESN'T SELL the 
>server appliance to B. Instead of selling it, A is still the full 
>owner of server appliance, which is installed at B's location only 
>as part of a support contract.     
I read this as B is co-locating the server on behalf of A, B taking the 
role of ISP.
I agree, if B is the customer and actually using the service provided by 
A that this counts as a distribution.

If A does co-locate the service at B's facilites with a support contract 
from B but B is NOT using the services from A, but A has some 
independant customers C, who use the service on the computer hosted at 
B; does this count as distribution?


>It would be a good thing, probably, but it would cost some precious (and
>costly) time of our lawyers that we have to spend on something else now
>(like this
>).  Or you can learn yourself from law books what distribution means and
>program the wizard accordingly.  Honestly, though, right now the FSFE
>can't afford put this effort on a high priority. 
No doubt you have better things to do than explain the  license, but you 
are the only ones authorititively able to explain the license.
I never see the license discussed but without also seeing arguments over 
the meaning.

I could learn from law books but I will actually be spending by time 
developing GPL'd software.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list