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NewsForge: Source Distribution and the GNU GPL

Jul 17, 2006, 16:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard M. Stallman)

"The goal of the GNU GPL is to ensure that all users have the four essential freedoms--(0) to run the program, (1) to study and change it, (2) to redistribute it, and (3) to distribute modified versions. Access to the source code is essential for freedom 1 and freedom 3. Thus, we designed the GNU GPL to insist that all redistributors make the source code available to their users. This requires them to do a little extra work, but that work is generally necessary for the sake of the users' freedom. Keeping source code conveniently and reliably available for the users is more important than saving distributors a little effort.

"Under GPL version 2, distributors who release binaries through a network server have to release the corresponding source code in the same way. This requirement is the only way to assure that users can get the source, and the that it is the right source..."

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