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RE: GPL Violation

Robert Citek wrote:
> Lawyer?  Three years?  We don't even have funds to buy pizza and beer let
> alone a lawyer.  We are not in the software distribution business.
> That's what Red Hat is for.  That is why I buy and recommend Red Hat.

Disclaimer: IANAL

RedHat uses the option whereby you can download the source and
binaries at the same time if you wish. Otherwise, you could go
to them and ask for the exact source to every version of every
package ever published in the last three years, and they'd be
required to produce it (assuming they have source code control,
they probably could do that anyway, though).

That is the best option, since it frees you up from having to
maintain source code for every binary you release and provide
it to anyone willing to pay you for the cost of distribution.
On the other hand, if you're distributing a CD, keeping the
corresponding sources for three years shouldn't be THAT MUCH
of a burden--just burn an extra CD set with GPL'ed sources. I
doubt many people will request them when they could just get
the newest version online, but what about that 1% that cgf
referred to?

This really can be important. Companies may come to depend on
that software, and run into some freakish bug when trying to
install a network driver or something. Only when they try to
get the latest version from will they discover that
their app is in that 1% that is no longer supported. They're
not going to balk about spending $100 or more for you to copy
it for them. If they're looking for sources, they're planning
to devote a great deal more (in terms of time) in order to get
themselves back on their feet. And after 3 years, you could
raise that price to $1000 or more (again IANAL). :-)

The problem with the GPL is that it's too often misunderstood,
especially by the people who claim to espouse it. E-mails from
addresses like angry at militant dot linux dot commando dot org threatening
legal action against people who are just trying to contribute
to open source efforts don't help. They just spread at least
as much FUD as Microsoft is regularly accused of. But I think
this thread shows that the GPL isn't really that burdensome.

There is another side to this issue: the fact that RedHat is
not in the business of supporting a standalone cygwin1.DLL,
although there are people who would prefer to include them
rather than requiring you to install Cygwin. I'm not ready
to touch that one quite yet, though...


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