[Linux-aus] Did SCO Violate the GPL?

Jan Schmidt thaytan at mad.scientist.com
Thu Jun 12 09:24:01 UTC 2003

<quote who="Chris Samuel">
>     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,
> My understanding is that *any* third party can request the source, from 
> section 3.b.

Well, IANALE, but:


'"Valid for any third party" means that anyone who has the offer is entitled
to take you up on it.'

'If you commercially distribute binaries not accompanied with source code,
the GPL says you must provide a written offer to distribute the source code
later. When users non-commercially redistribute the binaries they received
from you, they must pass along a copy of this written offer. This means that
people who did not get the binaries directly from you can still receive
copies of the source code, along with the written offer.'

So my reading is that no, it isn't just any third party who can request it - 
only those who are in possession of a copy of the binaries - because the 
offer for source code only applies to people who have been given the offer - 
ie, people who have received the GPL binaries....
however if THEY (as they are free to) pass the software to a third party,
that third party then has been given the offer, and can take you up on it.

So it still requires a chain from SCO selling the GPL code, to the person
making the request for source code.

> Also, I believe the GPL does not allow restrictions to be placed upon whomever 
> the source code *is* distributed to, so they in turn are free to redistribute 
> it to others.

Indeed, so it only takes one person to buy the product, and it can be
released freely - but that person is not me :)

Jan Schmidt                                  thaytan at mad.scientist.com

Open Source Software: Free as in Free Speech, not Free Beer

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