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WW has a wierd interpretation of the GPL

Posted by: pogson on November 22, 2008 04:16 PM
I use Debian and find it more than adequate for my needs. I have encountered several trolls on the web who are devotees of Mepis and they all seem to have a grudge against the GPL which makes all this software available. For instance, in the Mepis FAQ:
"Q4. Does this mean that if I give a copy of MEPIS to a friend, I also have to give them a copy of the GPLed source code?

A4. According to the Free Software Foundation, if they want the source code, it means exactly that. Whether you give MEPIS to a friend or install it on a computer and sell it, or even if you give it away on the street corner, you are still obligated by the restrictions of the GPL license. "


That is not what the GPL says at all. The GPL says that you must provide the source code or a written offer if you distribute the object code. If one copies a MEPIS CD, the written offer comes from MEPIS, not the friend. Copying a CD and distributing it does not fit that situation.

"You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of sections 4 and 5, provided that you also convey the machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, in one of these ways:

* a) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by the Corresponding Source fixed on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange.
* b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge."

see GPLv3
"10. Automatic Licensing of Downstream Recipients.

Each time you convey a covered work, the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensors, to run, modify and propagate that work, subject to this License. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties with this License."

At one time, Mepis put serial numbers on their CDs to prevent "unauthorized" copying...

While it is great that a distributor of GNU/Linux adds polish to improve the product, it does not seem right to profit from others' work and then kick them in the GPL. IF WW does not like the GPL, he should create his own software and not distribute GNU/Linux. As long as WW deals with software produced they those who are not concerned with his profitability but are concerned with making great software free, MEPIS will be an unreliable distro. With Debian, there are firm policies that are bigger than any ego that I can depend on to give a consistently good product. I meet ordinary users who find Debian perfectly usable. I can sit kids down with nothing but an installation CD and no experience of GNU/Linux who can install and use it successfully. We do not need MEPIS. We do not need WW. He seems to need the GNU/Linux community as a hostage.


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