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Legal Handwaving.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 12, 2002 08:11 PM
Maybe the user can but it strikes me as an irrelavent fine point. The distributor of the binaries built from GPL source can not escape their requirements so easily. A distributor of GPL code has obligations to two groups of people. The first is his downstream users who may or may not be bound by an NDA not to. I suspect if they hard pedal that with FSF owned code they could be in trouble. The other obligation is to the holder of the copyright on the code itself. The GPL says something like "You do not have to agree to this license but it is the only thing that permits you to redistribute this code..."

A point frequently missed by GPL bashers is that the creator of GPL code holds a copyright on his work. The copyright holder can license the code on different terms to different people. It is certainly possible build a proprietary app on GPL ed code provided one has the permission of the copyright holders. The GPL is one way he can LICENSE that work to others. No fancy NDA footwork obviates that other obligation. A copyright holder can even make a case for those NDA's violating the license on his code.

If Lindows.com hasn't negotiated with the copyright holders and isn't distributing source for whatever reason then they are on shaky legal ground.

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