Subject: Re: GNU and classified software
From: Frank Hecker <>
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 19:33:28 -0400 wrote:
> The contractor using GCC is not a problem -- this is a work for hire,
> and the return of the modified code to the government is not a
> distribution of the code.

And I should add, the contractor could copyright the new code and assign
the copyright to the US government, with the government then being the
licensor for that code as distributed; this simplifies the example IMO.

> The government turning around and giving copies to further contractors,
> however, clearly violates GCC.

I presume you meant GPL.

> At the moment of transfer the code passes
> from one legal entity to another, and at that point the source code must
> be released under GPL if the recipient demands it.

Yes, though I don't think that that in and of itself would cause a
problem. The government could certainly give the new contractor the
source code (original and new) if the contractor had the proper
clearances (which I assume would be the case since they got the
binaries). The problem is that the contractor would not be free to
redistribute the source (or binaries) to arbitrary others -- that's
where the GPL violation appears to occur, based on our prior

Frank Hecker            work:        home: