Restriction on distribution by Novell?

Ben Tilly btilly at
Tue Sep 26 14:57:47 UTC 2006

On 9/26/06, Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at> wrote:
> I don't think however that Novell must provide the sources (including
> sources modified by Novell to create the updates) to those who have
> not licenced the software directly from them, but Novell cannot
> limit their redistribution by their licensees.

This understanding is wrong according to the GPL version 2.

Under section 3 you have 3 options when it comes to providing source.
a) is accompany with source, c) is only valid for non-commercial use,
which means that Novell has to follow b).  Which mandates that they
accompany their software with a written offer, valid for at least 3
years, to give source to any third party who asks.

However the method is not specified.  It would suffice for them to say
that source code to GPLed components is available on publically
accessible webserver X.  They do NOT have to deliver source to all
comers through their update service.

Well, actually I lie slightly.  That is good enough for most people.
But RMS insists that paragraph 3 b) mandates that if someone without
internet access requests shipment of the source on a physical media,
they get that at the cost of providing that distribution.


More information about the License-discuss mailing list