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[Bug-gnubg] Re: GnuBg dll and licensing

From: Joern Thyssen
Subject: [Bug-gnubg] Re: GnuBg dll and licensing
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2002 06:59:57 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.25i

On Wed, Jun 05, 2002 at 12:53:24PM -0400, Gary Wong wrote
> The following e-mail might interest you (it was written by Bradley Kuhn,
> the Vice President of the FSF, in response to somebody else's query):
> } > I have a question about the interpretation of the GPL.
> } > 
> } > Point 2b states the following:
> } > 
> } > "You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or
> } > in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be
> } > licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of
> } > this License."
> } >
> } > I am the author of a program which is a server. People can connect to it
> } > and use it. (Of course, the program is licensed under GPL).  A friend of
> } > mine runs a modified version of this program, and claims that his
> } > modifications are not free and that the GPL does not apply to his
> } > modifications.
> } 
> } The GPL certainly applies to his modifications, regardless.  However, that
> } is a separate issue from whether or not the GPL requires him to distribute
> } source in a particular case.
> } 
> } If your friend uses his software only on his server, and does not distribute
> } the binaries to anyone else, he has not legally distributed the software.
> } If the software is not distributed to anyone, he is not required to provide
> } source to anyone.
> } 
> } This is true even if he supplies a public service on a network that uses GPL
> } code on his machine.

Aha, this statement answers the question :-)

Gary, do you have a reference on this letter? Say, a URL?

> My personal interpretation of the situation (which might not be the same
> way the FSF sees it) is that if somebody runs software based on gnubg
> on some backgammon server, then that software is covered by the GPL.  One
> consequence is that if they distribute the software, they are obliged to
> give certain rights to whoever they distribute it to (such as access to
> the source code, and rights to modify and to redistribute).  But merely
> running the program on the server does not itself constitute distribution,
> and it is permissible to modify GPLed software for private use without
> being obliged to distribute it.

I agree on this, as I hope I made clear in some of the previous


Joern Thyssen, PhD
Vendsysselgade 3, 3., DK-9000 Aalborg, Denmark
+45 9813 2791 (private) / +45 2077 2689 (mobile) / +45 9633 7036 (work)

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