Subject: RE: Change ot topic, back to OVPL
From: Alex Bligh <alex@alex.org.uk>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 01:12:08 +0100



--On 24 August 2005 16:47 -0700 "Smith, McCoy" <mccoy.smith@intel.com> 
wrote:

> FSF has an FAQ on this point:
> http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLRequireSourcePoste
> dPublic

Sadly it is inaccurate (well, perhaps 'doesn't tell the full story'
would be a better term). There is a three-limbed obligation under the GPL.

> You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under
> Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections
> 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:
>
>     a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
> source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and
> 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
>
>     b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years,
> to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of
> physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable
> copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms
> of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software
> interchange; or,
>
>     c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to
> distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only
> for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in
> object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with
> Subsection b above.)

So you have to do (at least) ONE of (a), (b) or (c).

If you do (b), you clearly have to make it available to the public.

If you do (a), you do not need to make it available to the public, you
just have to make it available to whom you distribute the executables.

If you do (c), then you have to accompany "it" (the executable) with the
"offer you received to distribute the corresponding source code". You can
only do this if you received an offer in the form of (b) above, and you
are making a "non-commercial distribution" (whatever that means). It's
unclear to me how this applies if you modified the program on the way - is
it sufficient that you provide the offer you received of source for the
unmodified program, or does "only if you received the program in
object code or executable form" mean "only if you received the exact
program you are distributing in object code or executable form" and thus
exclude the circumstance where you did so receive the program, took up
the offer, modified it, and distributed a derivative version on a
non-commercial basis.

So, the following is true:
> The GPL does not require you to release your modified version. You are
> free to make modifications and use them privately, without ever releasing
> them.

I think the following is also true (but relies on the licensee being the
company, not the individual, and if so is just as true for the OVPL):
> This applies to organizations (including companies), too; an organization
> can make a modified version and use it internally without ever releasing
> it outside the organization.

And this is true:
> But if you release the modified version to the public in some way, the
> GPL requires you to make the modified source code available to the
> program's users, under the GPL.

But what it doesn't say is that if you make executable versions of a
modified version available to third parties in some way, you have to either
provide them with the source, or you have to provide THE PUBLIC with an
offer to receive the source, or you have to (in the context of a
non-commercial distribution) pas on the offer you received. There is
an additional path open to you if you are making a "non-commercial"
distribution which might allow you to merely repeat and offer to distribute
the source that you received, though the circumstances where this applies
is unclear.


Alex