Subject: Re: Value returned from free(d) software
From: Brian Bartholomew <>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 1997 12:24:57 -0500

> It is a strange criterion to jump from whether or not you can buy
> something on CD for $50 to it must otherwise be proprietary.

Thanks for all the replies.  The GPL certainly doesn't do what I
thought it did.  I thought that once something was placed under the
GPL, it would be guaranteed to be available to everyone, in source,
forever after, from anybody who has it, at a nominal price.  And that
any improvements to that GPLed program from anybody would have similar
properties.  I used to think of this as "keeping a donation a

Apparently my understanding is seriously faulty.  It seems the
copyright holder can release the same source under any license at any
time, including using tactics that depreciate the GPL version in favor
of a non-GPL version.  Apparently source availability only applies to
people you send binaries to, not third parties.  And you can't extract
source improvements until the users choose to distribute binaries
based on the improved version.

So, as a practical matter, are there any up-to-date ftp archives or
cdroms of Cygnus-brand GPL software?  Or am I, in practice, required
to pay full retail price?

Another member of the League for Programming Freedom (LPF)
Brian Bartholomew - - - Working Version, Cambridge, MA