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Re: Re: Possible GPL violation?

Thank you for clearing out some (for me) fuzzy sections in the GPL.

Here's how I understand it.

Joe rewrites gcc and creates joesgcc, and gives that to Pete with a written offer
about the sorce code. Pete never bothers to ask for the source. Pete then
gives the binary joesgcc to Rick, and the readme-file that offers the source
comes with it. Rick, on the other hand, decides that he wants the source
and... Joe is then required to send the source to Rick? (Provided that Rick
pays for the floppy or CD or whatever the media may be.)

Have I understood this correctly? If so, good. 

This raises an issue. The GPL gives a time limit on the availability of
the source. When Joe gives Pete the binary, Joe is only required to provide 
Pete (or, as I understand it, Rick) the source code for three years.

Now, this puts either Rick or Joe in a strange situation. Rick may have
been given joesgcc two years after it was handed to Pete and then, two years
later, he asks Joe for the source. Now, in Ricks timeline, he was given the
binary two years ago, but Joe issued the binary and the offer FOUR years
ago, and should then no longer be obliged to provide the source.

So, who's right, Joe or Rick? (Or did even Pete do something wrong??)

Again, thank you very much for clearing this out and forgive me for creating
a thread on this list that may not actually belong here.

/Fredrik Persson

> From: (Robert Dewar)
> Date: 2002/08/29 Thu PM 12:24:58 CEST
> To:,
> CC:
> Subject: Re: Possible GPL violation?
> <<Previous attention by the FSF police notwithstanding, XYZZY Inc. is not
> obliged to give you the source if it didn't already give you binaries.  I.e.
> the GPL does not *require* you to distribute to anyone.  Just that when you
> do, it specifies how and how much.
> >>
> This is incorrect. If you opt for the written offer to supply the sources,
> as this company apparently has, then the following applies from the GPL:
>     b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
>     years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your
>     cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete
>     machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
>     distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
>     customarily used for software interchange; or,
> Note the "any third party" here. 
> Please read the GPL before making claims about it. The reason incidentally
> for the "any third party" here is to make it reasonably easy to do further
> distributions. This means you can send the objects to someone along with
> a copy of the original written offer rather than forcing you to excercise
> the written offer before redistributing.
> The GPL is quite clear about this:
>     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.)
> Now if you take alternative a)
>     a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
>     source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections
>     1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
> Then indeed you have no obligation to third parties.

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