Restriction on distribution by Novell?

Ben Tilly btilly at
Tue Sep 26 22:22:10 UTC 2006

On 9/26/06, Wilson, Andrew <andrew.wilson at> wrote:
> Ben Tilly wrote:
> > Therefore they fall under 3 b and
> > must provide source to ANYONE who asks.
> >
> > Not just people who licensed software from them.
> >
> > Not just people who happen to have the binary.
> >
> You know, just because you put something in caps
> doesn't make it true.

No, but people sometimes put things in caps because it is true.

> You might try reading the FSF FAQ:
> This does a decent job of clarifying that the
> written offer extends only to anyone who "has the offer."
> Conversely, those who don't have the offer (indirect distributees
> who did not get your coupon in the box) can't demand
> the sources from you.

This is true.  However if you re-read it you will see that anyone who
has the offer has the right to exercise it.  The ability to exercise
the offer is not just limited to people you gave the software to.

According to my re-re-re-re-reading of the GPL, the language of the
license does not actually prevent the idea of including a coupon that
must be returned to get the source.  However the FSF FAQ makes it
clear that in their thinking, anyone who has a copy of the offer,
should be able to get software.  I do not see this discrepancy between
what the license says and what they want it to say being closed in the
GPL version 3 either.  It should be.

> Also see
> which states quite directly you as a distributor "are not
> required to do anything physically" for all unrelated third parties.

This language I do NOT see in the FAQ.  In fact the FAQ closes with this:

"The reason we require the offer to be valid for any third party is so
that people who receive the binaries indirectly in that way can order
the source code from you."

Which makes it clear that you actually do have requirements which
apply to all unrelated third parties.


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