Cygwin license

Steve Morris
Wed Mar 31 19:45:00 GMT 1999

DJ Delorie writes:
 > > Specifically it should be possible for people to legally provide a
 > > service of compiling to binaries software that people already have a
 > > legal right to use. It is silly that Andy Piper, Earnie, Sergey et al
 > > are in technical violation of cygwin licensing terms when they are
 > > merely saving the rest of us time and effort.
 > The GPL was designed - by *lawyers* - to prevent people from
 > distributing a binary without sources.
 > As far as Andy et al providing a "service" to others, yes I agree that
 > it's a good service.  However, they must *legally* put the sources
 > they used out there with the binaries.  The GPL requires it.  Patches
 > are not acceptable.  Relying on a third party's ftp site is not
 > acceptable.  If Andy puts out a binary for emacs, and the FSF stops
 > distributing emacs sources, Andy has broken the law.  Considering how
 > trivial it is to zip up the sources too, is it really a problem?

I am trying to limit the discussion to cygwin sources. The issue of
providing inetd, man, less etc sources with the binaries can be
discussed elsewhere where those packages are apropriately discussed.
For the sake of this discussion please assume these requirements have
been met.

The critical question relevent qto members of this list is whether
people who provide the service of compiling generally available third
party sources into cygwin executables must also provide the full
cygwin source distribution for 3 years and do so for each cygwin
version they distribute against.

If the full distribution is not required is it enough to provide a
distribution of sources for ligcugwin.a and the headers since that is
all that are compiled against and linked in? Or possibly theose plus
the sources for the dll. If so it would be useful if someone
(hopefully at Cygnus as the interested party) could package this
required subset into a single tar ball as an aid to people trying to
provide this extremely useful compiling service. At least Cygnus needs
to spell out exactly which files need to be to provided in
source. This is a legal requirement if Cygwin expects the license to
be enforcable.  I'm sure that Cygnus doesn't suggest that sources for
gcc and bash and other utilities needs to be provided in
source. Exactly where is the cut.

Cygnus should eithor make it simple for these service providers to
meet the cygwin GPL source requirements with their binaries or take on
the additional burden of providing binaries themselves. The first is
obviously the most desireable.

I keep hammering on this issue because I believe that cygwin is much
less valuable unless common tools, not part of the core set, are also
available in binary form. It is unreasonable to expect every user of
cygwin to collect all the sources for all useful utilities and build

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