[linux-audio-user] Fervent Software Studio..to go! and GPL issues

Chris Cannam cannam at all-day-breakfast.com
Thu Dec 16 09:31:06 EST 2004

On Thursday 16 Dec 2004 13:43, Christian Frisson wrote:
> So will you / are you compelled, under the GPL terms, to make the
> source code of your distro available, for even those who haven't
> bought a license, for example on a server, instead of bundled on the
> recorded medium?

Essentially yes.  Either you can include the source code with the binary 
distribution, or you can offer it separately.  If you offer it 
separately, the offer must be open to anyone -- although you may charge 
the distribution cost and you have no obligation to advertise the offer 
to anyone except the people you made the binary distribution to.

In the case of a server, the people making the server would be obliged 
either to include the source, or to include information with the server 
telling how anyone who happened to read the offer could get the source 
from them.

The GPL offers a third choice (basically, tell people where else they 
can get the source) but only for non-commercial distributions.  I think 
that's the only place where the GPL distinguishes between commercial 
and non-commercial.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, but I have read the GPL.  Corrections 

> For my future experiments, what if I want my piece of software to be
> released opensource, but I don't want other people to make dirty
> money (all that's remaining after sales, packaging, shipment and
> survival expenses) out of it: which license should I choose?

What you describe would not be "open source" by definition.

You could use a very simple license that permitted only non-commercial 
distribution.  Here's an example that was enough to keep this software 
out of the Fervent distribution:


Of course, that license will also keep it out of any strictly Free 
distribution such as AGNULA.  (I assume AGNULA sticks to the Debian 
free-software guidelines?)


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