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UnitedLinux "certified binaries" will not to be freely available

Actually I think he's safe in either case:  The key word in that section is
"distribute", the GPL doesn't say you have to distribute to everyone who
asks for it.  It says you have to provide the source to anyone you
distribute to.  This is a very important, if hard to understand, difference.
To put it another way: I make a great CD burning program of Linux that uses
a GPL'ed library.  Also, I descide to sell the pre-compiled binaries of the
program.  As long as I provide the source along with the binary I am in
complete GPL compliance.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Bogstad" <bogstad at>
To: <discuss at>
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 7:23 PM
Subject: FYI: UnitedLinux "certified binaries" will not to be freely

> Ransom Love (CEO of Caldera) was interviewed on Slashdot today
> about UnitedLinux.  Among other questions, he was asked whether
> UnitedLinux binaries would be freely available.  He said no (entire
> response quoted below).  If he's talking about CD images, then they
> might be able to claim a compilation copyright.  Certainly they can
> restrict copying on bits that they wrote themselves.  If he's talking
> about individual GPLed packages though, I think there may be a legal
> problem here.  The issue is whether the following clause from the GPL
> applies to binaries based on GPLed sources.  It would seem that way to
> me, but IANAL...
> >  6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
> >Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the
> >original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to
> >these terms and conditions.  You may not impose any further
> >restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.
> >You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to
> >this License.
> Bill Bogstad
> bogstad at
> 3) Source and binary distributions
> by RGRistroph
> There has been some confusion on your statement in the UL
> teleconference to the effect that while source code would be available
> to meet the requirements of the GPL, "binaries would not be freely
> available." Could you clarify what that means? Is it possible that UL
> will distribute only source, or only distribute source and binaries to
> it's member companies? (Who will then be responsible for making sure
> they meet the license requirements on software which is in their
> distributions?) Surely UL or it's members don't intend to distribute
> binaries compiled from GPL code and assert the recipient can't
> re-distribute them?
> Ransom:
> The binaries that are certified by the major ISVs and OEMs will not be
> made freely available for distribution by anyone. This is to limit the
> support liability for these companies and to ensure a high quality,
> consistent product around the world for support purposes. The
> UnitedLinux product produced is not just a binary, but 12-months of
> maintenance. That maintenance is for a single system and therefore has
> limited distribution.  The source code for the server will be made
> freely available for all in compliance with all of the Open Source
> licenses.
> There will be programs for developers who need access to the binaries
> and they will include options for ongoing updates and patches to
> ensure continued certification compliance. Our desire is to make
> UnitedLinux easily available for serious developers, and give them
> means to make the development process easier.
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at

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