Restriction on distribution by Novell?

Matthew Flaschen superm40 at
Tue Sep 26 21:27:20 UTC 2006

Philippe Verdy wrote:

> If someone wants a media, Novell will have to search for the sources, download them from the external server where they were stored, and put them on a stable media whose reading is possible according to the most common technologies at the time of request.

This is not as hard as you make it sound...

> And Novell will be allowed to charge for this service with reasonable price for the support itself, for the time to process the request and prepare the media, for handling and for shipping.

Anyway, again, the GPL says they can charge only the cost of "physically 
performing source distribution."  What's included here is subjective, 
but it seems to me charging a support fee for this is disallowed.

> But I don't think that Novell has this obligation for everyone that asks them for these sources, if Novell can prove that the requester did not have a valid licence from Novell when Novell distributed the GPLed source.

Yes, they do.  The GPL says (I would read it thoroughly if you haven't 
yet), "Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three 
years, to give ANY third party" [emphasis added by me].  This means you 
don't need any relationship with Novell to get source if they provide a 
written offer.  Novell CAN avoid this, by using the other option (3a) in 
the GPL: providing complete source with all GPLed binaries.  Then, their 
licensees can still redistribute source, but Novell doesn't have to 
worry about it after the initial distribution.

Matthew Flaschen

More information about the License-discuss mailing list