licensing NOT clear for me

DJ Delorie
Wed Mar 31 19:45:00 GMT 1999

> You do not have to include the sources.  You just have to be
> prepared to make the sources available to someone via the same
> mechanism that you distributed your program.

Note that this option is only available if you are able to include a
*written* offer to do so *with* the binaries.  Obviously, you can't do
that with internet downloads.  For those cases, putting the sources
with the binaries (so that the user may download them if they choose,
at the time they download the binaries) is the only option the GPL

GPL 3 may change this, allowing (for example) cdrom binaries with web
source, provided it's the cdrom company's web site.

> That means that if you distribute the program on diskette you have
> to be prepared to provide the sources on diskette.  If you
> distributed the sources on the web, you have to be able to make the
> sources available via the web.

Caveat: RMS claims that the sources must be on the same site.  The
reason is that if you don't do that, you aren't in control of the
sources and can't guarantee that they'll be available whenever the
binary is available.

> One thing that I don't believe anyone has mentioned (and I hope that
> DJ will correct me if I'm wrong) is that you can charge a processing
> fee for providing the sources.

You may charge *only* the actual costs of copying and sending the
sources.  You can charge $50 only if it actually costs you $50 to send
the sources.  You are not allowed to profit from distributing sources
for a binary they already have, nor may you charge a license or
"penalty" fee for such sources.

You may charge as much as you like for binary/source combinations,
source-only distribution, or binary-only distributions (but in that
last case you must provide sources to those binaries for copying costs

> Or, you can go to and get the
> sources from there for free."

I wouldn't recommend this.  The first time we update the sources on
sourceware, all those binary distributions become illegal because the
sources for *those* binaries are no longer available.

Note that this is what DJGPP's exception to the GPL *does* allow.
Specifically, if you use the *unchanged* binaries from an *official*
djgpp distribution, then the result of linking in libc.a doesn't
itself make your program GPL, but you must give your customers enough
information to get any official DJGPP distribution for themselves.

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