Again - How To Break The GPL

David Johnson david at
Thu Mar 23 02:55:10 UTC 2000

On Wed, 22 Mar 2000, cszigetv wrote:

> The GPL is not specific on when the modifications have to be made
> available, though I always assumed that it should happen simultaneously
> with the binary distribution. The delay imposed by TurboLinux is not
> much (2 months), but then again, next time someone makes it 6 months, 1
> year, 2 years...

According to the GPL, one can distribute a binary copy of someone's
GPLd code, provided one of the following is done: 1) "Accompany it
with..."; 2) "Accompany it with..."; or 3) "Accompany it with..." :-) In
all cases, the binary has to be accompanied with the source code or
offer for the source code.

One area which the GPL did not address is the definition of distribute.
To some people, distribution occurs when it is generally available to
the public. To others it is when you give a copy to your friend, a beta
tester or even a co-developer.

If TurboLinux has publically released the binaries without the source
code, they are definitely in the wrong. On the other hand, if their
binaries are labelled "beta" and only on available for download, they
might have a few inches of wiggle-room.

David Johnson...

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