Mahesh T Pai paivakil at
Fri Nov 1 11:35:00 UTC 2002

(For a few days, I had some hardware problem and could not access the 
net.  Hence, I could not reply earlier. The original came to me off 
the list, but since the list appears to be very much interested, I am 
posting the reply to the list also.)

Sujita Purushothaman wrote:

>> You are way off topic here.  This list is not for discussing
>> things like "can I do 'x' if not, 'y' under license 'A' ".  Such
>> questions are, ideally decided on advice from lawyers.
> Well then, please accept my apologies.

This thread is more than 40 posts in 7 days.  That is more than usual 
load on the entire list.  So, the apology is not really required.

> I thought the authors signed off the copyright to the the FSF?

Somebody clarified that already on the list, and RMS too has put in a 

> I am trying to make sense of Mandrake or Red Flag taking Red Hat
> Linux and coming up with their own commercial version. Obviously it
> is legal; What I don't understand is what kind of credits should
> the derived works carry. What is mandated by the GPL, what is not
> necessary but is polite, and what is not necessary at all.

Under the GPL,
1. Thou shall, not change the license.
2. Thou shall, at all times, provide the source code (or tell 'em how 
to get it).
3. Thou shall, not restrict the kinds of uses to which the program is 
put to.
4. Thou may modify, if you modify, thou shall specify which file in a 
program you modify, ideally in the commented parts of it.  This 
applies to the sources.  If the binary is
      (a) interactive,
      (b) displays some message when run,
       when it is invoked,
      thou must display the copyright notice.  This copyright notice 
should not be changed.
5. If the compilation and/ or installation requires any special 
paramaters, or scripts, thou shall make them available.
6. You make make your modifications to yourself, as long as you do not 
distribute them.
7. When you distribute the modified binary, you should make available 
the modifications to the sources also.

	4, 5, 6 and 7 are specified, coz. whoever wrote GPL was primarily had 
the 'source code' in mind when he was referring to 'software'.  And 
yes, under the law, compilated binaries are derived works.

8. Copyright in the originals belong to the original author, copyright 
in the modifications (not the entire modified work) belong to the 
person who modified.

>> The difference is between saying :- "this was created by X"
>> (about a program written by Y and modified by X)
>> and "This program uses code written by Y and was modified by X"
> Does the GPL require me to say  the seond line?

Yes, and it is mandatory - in the sources.  "the display when run 
clause" is attracted if the program displays when run.  In a typical 
GUI environment, the usual place to say that would be help > about

Mahesh T Pai.

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