binary restrictions?

Matthew C. Weigel weigel+ at
Sun Oct 7 19:44:26 UTC 2001

On Sun, 7 Oct 2001, Steve Lhomme wrote:

> That makes good sense. But in this case, why is their different rules
> for source code and binary versions of a work in most open-source
> licenses ? I mean if it's a derived work, the rules applied are the
> same one of a derived work.

1. Because binaries are inherently useful to a wider audience than
source (consider it a special case requiring that English translations
of Latin texts be redistributable).  It is unacceptable to allow people
to distribute patches to the source that will result in the binaries.

2. It is also unacceptable to allow people to only distribute the 'final'
derivative work, that is, only the binary and not the source (which
might also have been modified).

It is simply a special case with special rules, because without the
special case it isn't what people have been thinking of free software
for decades.
 Matthew Weigel
 Research Systems Programmer
 mcweigel at ne weigel at

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