GNU GPL and Open Source Definition

Signal 11 signal11 at
Wed Apr 28 04:24:28 UTC 1999

Jeff Alami wrote:
> Theoretically, a commercial software product licenced exclusively under the GPL
> could violate Article 2 of the OSD. I don't think this is a major problem,
> because as soon as one person buys the source code for the product, they could
> redistribute it without charge via the Internet. But technically the two parts
> are contradicting each other.

-- osd --

If you want to play devil's advocate, one might see a problem here...
a license could conform to the osd by making the /download free/, but
having a lengthy registration process as part of the deal.  "You must
provide us with a valid e-mail address so we can spam you to get this
software".  The solution would of course be to modify the definition to
be more general ("without compensation") or more specific 
(via anonymous ftp/direct download).  I ought to start a new thread about 
this, the topic is already starting to drift.... 

-- gpl --

I think the intent of the GPL is to be able to charge for /distribution/.
The source (and derived binaries) is free in every sense of the word.
If there's a bug in the GPL that doesn't reflect those ideals, it needs
to be fixed.  E-mail rms and tell him to look into it. Unfortunately, his 
exact e-mail is not in my possession, but e-mailing gnu at should get 
the same result.  It's an interesting observation, and probably one that
should be corrected.

~ bojay
/me wonders if slashdot would post the story "GPL violates OSS definition!". :)

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