[LEDE-DEV] NETSHe mac80211 GPL sources

David Lang david at lang.hm
Fri Feb 3 03:25:43 PST 2017

On Fri, 3 Feb 2017, Daniel Golle wrote:

> Hi Alberto,
> On Fri, Feb 03, 2017 at 10:59:38AM +0000, Alberto Bursi wrote:
>> On 02/03/2017 07:35 AM, Stanislav V. Korsakov wrote:
>>> Hi Daniel,
>>> We provide our GPLed and dual licensed source codes to our customer only.
>>> Not our source code is available at http://gw.stasoft.net/dl/
>> What you wrote here sounds like a license violation.
>> Source code of GPLed software you use *must* be provided to everyone
>> that asks it, not just to customers.
>> That's what the GPL license requires.
> Strictly speaking, it must be provided to anyone who also got access
> to the binary. So, if you offer a free download of the binary, you must
> provide the sources under the same terms. Ie. by downloading the
> binaries from the website, that makes me a customer entitled to ask for
> the sources.
> However, if you provide the binaries only to customers or keep them
> "in-house" (that's what most telcos do), only the parties which were
> handed the binaries can ask for the sources, that's at least how I
> understood the GPLv2.

If you never distribute the binaries, then you don't have to provide source to 
anyone (but if you sell devices with the binaries, you are distributing them)

If you "enclose a written offer for the source" when you ship the binaries, that 
offer is good to anyone, not just those who receive the binaries (and must be in 
place for at least three years). Most companies do this and put tarballs of the 
source on a server and forget about it.

If you ship the source with the binaries on the same media, then you are not 
required to setup any additional methods/processes for people to ask for the 
source. Your obligations under the GPL are satisfied by shipping the source with 
the binaries, so this is the easiest thing to do in the long run.

There have been a number of companies who have tried to set things up so that 
they only give the source to their customers, and only when they ask, with 
restrictions preventing the customers from giving the source to anyone else. 
These have always been a violation of the GPL and while none have gone to court 
in the US, that's because the violators have always settled before getting into 
court (with vmware being the only exception, and I haven't heard that that case 
has gone to trial yet)

David Lang

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