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Re: sparse stuff found

From: Jim Van Zandt
Subject: Re: sparse stuff found
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 10:06:21 -0400

Daniel Heiserer <address@hidden> writes:
>   Does it make ANY sense to SELL GPLed code?  The buyer is allowed
>   to modify the code and redistribute it as long as it comes with
>   the license and the full source.  Assume you start selling octave
>   with GPL. As far as I can see somebody can buy it and redistribute
>   it for free.  Am I wrong?

When you sell a CDROM with a Linux distribution, you are selling GPL'd
code.  The average author would say "well, of course that is not what
I am concerned about".  (I suppose they have visions of someone
picking up free code and selling it to some company for thousands of
dollars.  This attitude seems particularly common in the optimization
field.)  Legally speaking, both situations involve selling software.
Trying to distinguish between them does not work very well.

It also makes sense to sell turnkey systems and services which include
GPL'd code.  Ordinarily, the user has the right but not the expertese
or inclination to modify the code.

>   PS:
>   All this License stuff makes me sick.
>   It takes more time to figure out how I can use what under which
>   conditions than just doing something even if is FREE code.
>   The nice thing once I started with Linux and all the FREE stuff 
>   was that you really didn't have to care about all this crap 
>   just do something and it worked marvellous.

That is why RMS did us such a service in developing the GPL.

Incidentally, we Debian maintainers spend a lot of effort on analyzing
licenses, and encouraging people to make their code available freely.
As long as you stay with the "main" and "contrib" sections of Debian,
you don't have to worry about licenses.

                        - Jim Van Zandt

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