Restriction on distribution by Novell?

Matthew Flaschen superm40 at
Tue Sep 26 22:49:12 UTC 2006

Smith, McCoy wrote:

> "Knowledge of the written offer" is not enough to trigger the
> obligation.  You have to have the written offer itself.  And that's
> according to the FSF.

I think you're probably right that "knowledge" isn't sufficient (this is 
definitely the FSF position).  However, I maintain that a copy of the 
offer is (this is supported by the FAQ, which says "pass along a copy of 
this written offer.")  I also think it is irrelevant whether the third 
party has any binary (regardless of its source).

I haven't seen anything (except Wilson's recall of his conversation with 
Moglen) supporting the idea that possession of a binary is required.

Finally, let's remember that the FSF interpretation is ultimately 
irrelevant.  Only the GPL text itself is binding as a license, unless 
the FSF is a copyright holder and you interpret the FAQ as an extra 
permission (which is legally dubious at best).

I respect them enough to seek out their opinion, but not to consider it 
the final word on everything.

Matthew Flaschen

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