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Re: Emacs 23.4 Updated Windows Binaries published

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Emacs 23.4 Updated Windows Binaries published
Date: Mon, 06 Feb 2012 12:46:13 +0900

Lennart Borgman writes:

 > I have not been following this particular thread, but my
 > understanding is that only a link to the relevant sources is needed
 > now - if we can guarantee that this works. (This was my
 > understanding of a message from RMS quite some time ago. I might
 > have misunderstood it, though.)

If you mean that Emacs doesn't need to distribute those sources *with
Emacs*, that is true.  If you mean that Emacs docs can point to the
upstream sources, you misunderstand.

 > A real problem is however to keep the libraries updated.

This is the problem.  If you distribute binaries, you must make the
corresponding sources for the exact version of each distributed binary
available according to the GPL.  The message you refer to undoubtedly
was explaining certain corner cases where these sources need not be
delivered in the same packages as the binaries (there are pretty
severe conditions on this, though).

If Emacs makes *zero* changes to the 3rd party sources for its
distribution, then theoretically it would be OK to point to them (but
it doesn't satisfy the GPL!)  However, that case is likely to be
fairly rare (I would guess that in most cases the build scripts would
be modified or not yet published security patches applied, etc), and
so practically the GPL's requirement that you distribute the
corresponding source *yourself* is simple and reasonable.

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