Subject: Re: Open Source shareware?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 15 Sep 2002 18:28:45 -0700

"La Monte Henry Piggy Yarroll" <piggy@baqaqi.chi.il.us> writes:

> The offer of source code under the GPL ONLY applies to folks who you
> supply binaries to.  Or did you mean something else?

If you distribute the source code with the binaries, you don't have to
give the source code to anybody else.  If you distribute the binaries
without source code, you must provide source code to any third party
(section 3(b)).

> >      Well, don't expect that to work for long.  I'm sure someone will
> > put the code somewhere on the Net (as they can under the GPL).
> > Now, if we were talking about corporate customers, maybe not.
> > But there are plenty of people who give out proprietary software when they
> > have paid for it and it is illegal; why wouldn't they when it is legal?
> 
> I think there are folks on this list who could give more accurate
> data, but I believe that Cygnus distributed the EGCS tool chain this
> way for many years.  It did not become widely available until Cygnus
> released it themselves.

Cygnus always distributed source code along with the binaries, so they
came under section 3(a) rather than section 3(b) of the GPL.

A minor terminology note: EGCS was free from creation.  Cygnus used to
distribute a version of gcc which included Cygnus (and a few
non-Cygnus) patches which had not been accepted into the FSF gcc.
When EGCS was created, it included most of the Cygnus patches.

As far as I know, it's true that no Cygnus customer made the Cygnus
sources available on the web.  None of them had any interest in doing
so.  The times today are somewhat different, and it would be cheaper
and simpler for some random person to put up sources.  Although it is
true that it never did happen, I wouldn't assume that it never would
happen.

We at Cygnus sometimes idly discussed putting up the sources
ourselves, but it was a support and bandwidth hassle for no
discernible benefit to Cygnus.  We knew it would be a support hassle
because the Cygnus sources were included with an O'Reilly book, and a
number of people called Cygnus for help with the CD although Cygnus
got no money from the book.

Ian