[Mailman-Users] GPL Issues (was Re: query re "message has implicit destination"(devils advocate!))

Dragon dragon at crimson-dragon.com
Fri Sep 1 19:16:29 CEST 2006

Bretton Vine sent the message below at 08:47 AM 9/1/2006:
>Dragon said the following on 2006/09/01 05:29 PM:
> > Have you actually read the GPL?
> > http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt
>yes plus variations ;-)
> > There is such an obligation explicitly defined in it within section 3
> > that states that source code of any derivative work MUST be provided
> > either as part of the actual distribution of the work or upon request to
> > ANY third party that requests it.
>Yes, but that's not what I said. I said there was no obligation to send
>changes back to original developers, but that it was polite to do so.
>Obviously, if the original developers ask for the changes then yes, but if
>they've failed to do so there is no obligation.
>(The feedback appears to indicate that they have asked however)

No, it was not exactly what you said but it could be interpreted in such a way.

>In fact I can take GPL code, modify it and use it internally without either
>the original developers or any third party knowing I've done so. I'm under
>zero obligation to inform anyone of my actions or changes.

Yes, you can. But that is also not applicable to this situation 
because Plesk and Cpanel and Apple have all taken the mailman code, 
applied changes and redistributed them.

>If however I start distributing the changed code it must be done so 
>under the same
>licence, and upon request I must make the source available.

And that is the crux of the issue because as I understand it, such 
requests have been made and rebuffed or ignored.

>There is no obligation for me to indicate what I changed from an original
>code base (code or docs) only an obligation for me to provide the source
>*on request*.
>Manners imply shipping the compiled product with source, but it's not
>necessary or necessarily a rule followed by everyone.

Nor is it required under the GPL. The GPL only requires that it be 
made available and does not specify the exact mechanism of how this 
must be done.

> > Thus by either passively ignoring or actively refusing requests for
> > source, Apple, Plesk and CPanel are in direct violation of the GPL.

If the link Mark posted earlier with Apple's source code does indeed 
have their version (which looks likely due to a different version 
number on it), then I retract my statement about Apple. By providing 
the source on the web, they have adhered to both the letter and the 
spirit of the GPL.

>Ok, then any person is welcome to contact those organisations and request
>the source. If they fail to provide it you can take the matter up with the
>relevant people at the FSF.
>(well technically only copyright holders can do so)

Very true.


  Venimus, Saltavimus, Bibimus (et naribus canium capti sumus)

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