Can you under the GPL distribute executables without full sources?

Mahesh T Pai paivakil at
Tue Aug 27 09:16:07 UTC 2002

James Michael DuPont wrote:

> Assuming that someone is porting GNU/Gnome libs to windows :

Please be clear - Which license applies to these libs? GPL? LGPL?

> Currently I am trying to re-compile some of the gnome/gnu libs ported to
> windows.

Most probably, that means that the libs are covered by either the GPL or the LGPL.,,

> Almost non of them compile from the source codes published, there are missing
> files, missing directories and such. Some people just based their work on
> these DLLS, and then a whole chain of missing sources gets started up.

This can happen for two reasons -
(1) because the the source does not correspond to the binaries.
(2) Sources were written for one environment and now you are trying to
(re)compile them in a different in environment.

If the reason is (1) exercise your right under the GPL, contact the guys who
created the port and insist on getting the sources to the modifications.  If
they (the modifiers) do not give you the sources, contact the guys who wrote the
original program.

> Can a user just say what version of the sources he used, but not distribute
> the patches, shell scripts and environmental variables needed to compile?
> What if the sources are not available as stated.

If you modify a s/w released under the GPL, and *distribute* the modified
version, you have to comply with the 3 conditions laid down in Clause 2 and *any
one* of 3 conditions in Clause 3 of the GPL.

It appears that you have come accross a case of serious violation of the GPL.

> As far as I can tell from the GPL, all sources that do not belong to the
> standard system install have to be provided, not just the name of the lib
> used.

Yes.  You are correct there.

Having said all this, Im afraid that the subject is off-topic for this list.

Mahesh T Pai.

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