[ANN] Cygwin DEV survey

Steve Morris smorris@nexen.com
Wed Mar 31 19:45:00 GMT 1999

DJ Delorie writes:
 > > I don't think this is true.  I find no clause that says source _must_
 > > be distributed in the same means that the binaries are.  Section 3
 > > talks about distribution, but says only that the source must be "on a
 > > medium customarily used for software interchange" -- nothing about the
 > > same medium as the binary.
 > I can see a lawyer arguing that a customer who has a cdrom drive may
 > not consider the web to be "customarily used" if he/she has no
 > connection to the web.

Lawyers will argue anything but that's a stretch, even for a
lawyer. As someone with a lot of involvement with the legal field I
suggest that the courts would most likely interpret "on a medium
customarily used for software interchange" to mean customarily used in
a general sense i.e. by people who do software interchange; unless
there was specific language to the contrary. Words like customary and
reasonable, when used without qualifiers are used in the law to refer
to general practice rather than to specific practice of the parties to
the contract.

Admittedly "customarily" is ambiguous in common usage. However that
doesn't help with the interpretation. Courts generally find that
ambiguous clauses in contracts are unenforcable.

Like a lot of legal discussion there is an Angel vs. heads of pins
flavor to this conversation. I hope they include the source
regardless. It is a good idea regardless of GPL. I have often wanted
to fix a minor bug in one tiny part of a large system. Having the
sources match the binaries without doing extensive investigation of
where they live is a major benefit and well appreciated by end users.

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