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NewsForge: A GPL Requirement Could Have a Chilling Effect on Derivative Distros

Jun 28, 2006, 14:30 (17 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

" Warren Woodford, the founder of the MEPIS distribution, would prefer to be concentrating on polishing his latest release. Instead, he is distracted by an official notice from the Free Software Foundation that, because MEPIS has not previously supplied source code for the packages already available from the distribution it is based on--once Debian, and now Ubuntu--it is in violation of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Woodford intends to comply, but he worries about how this requirement might affect all distributions derived from other distributions--especially those run by one or two people in their spare time.

"The requirement to supply source code is covered by section 3 of the second version of the GPL. Under these sections, the distributor of GPL code is obligated to provide source code 'on a medium customarily used for software interchange' for up to three years..."

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