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Re: Tricky cygwin license question

On Mon, Jan 07, 2002 at 12:43:14PM -0600, Dave Dykstra wrote:
>I have a few questions about Cygwin licensing, and the last one I think is
>kind of tricky.
>I run a software distribution system in Lucent that automatically
>distributes hundreds of tools, mostly open source tools but also some
>internal proprietary tools.  The system includes a remote-compile
>capability that we allow volunteers from all over the company to use to
>compile the tools which they then install for distribution.  We support a
>lot of Unix types and now we want to add a Cygwin type and are almost ready
>to deploy it.
>Question 1: There's no problem with distributing proprietary tools
>internally that use the Cygwin library, correct?  I don't see anything in
>the GPL that would prevent that.  We do make the source code of these tools
>also available internally if that matters, and everybody inside can do with
>it as they wish except that they're subject to our own company's rules and
>so won't redistribute it outside the company.

As I understand it, you can do whatever you like internally.  IANAL, though.
If you want to be safe, you should consult with a lawyer.

>Question 2: There are currently two other companies (both which happen to
>have spun off of Lucent) that we send our tools to, in both binary and
>source form, and they pay us to get all the tools including the open source
>tools and many of the proprietary tools.  The source for our own tools that
>we send them is not under the GPL; they may use it internally for whatever
>purpose they want, but may not redistribute it outside.  There's no reason
>why they couldn't take our source code and compile it themselves with
>Cygwin for their own internal use, right?  Again, I don't see how the GPL
>prevents that.

If you are distributing binaries outside of your organization, you must
adhere to the terms of the cygwin licensing.

If you are giving people binaries that use the cygwin DLL, then the
sources must be made available.  The sources *will* be freely
redistributable.  You don't have any control over that.  There is no
wiggle room here.  This is the whole point of the GPL.

If you are distributing parts of the cygwin net release, then there are
a number of other licenses that you have to worry about.  The
development tools are mostly GPL but there are exceptions.

>Question 3: It would save the other two companies trouble if we also gave
>them the binaries of our proprietary tools, and they would end up with the
>same result as if they compiled the tools themselves.  However, I believe
>the GPL and requires that if we gave them
>our binaries linked with Cygwin, we'd have to give them our source under
>some open source license, meaning they'd have the right to redistribute it
>outside their company.  Am I right?  Even if I am, would you grant an
>exception for this case because they end up with the same result if we
>compile it for them or if they compile it themselves?

Other license arrangements are available for software that is linked by
with the cygwin dll but not already covered by a free software license.
Check out the "Red Hat Cygwin Product" link at the cygwin web site.


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