[Bf-committers] extension clause

Martin Poirier theeth at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 18 04:10:18 CET 2010

--- On Wed, 11/17/10, David Jeske <davidj at gmail.com> wrote:

> I've heard a few people mention this loophole related to
> the definition of
> 'distribution', where if a binary is distributed only
> within an
> organization, then that's not really 'distribution' and so
> the closed-source
> code does not need to be moved to the GPL and released in
> source form. I've
> explained why this loophole is not practically useful, both
> because it's not
> universally accepted, and because companies must often
> distribute the
> binaries outside their organization to get work done.

Not only is it widely accepted, it's straight out of the GPL FAQ:

This applies to organizations (including companies), too; an organization can make a modified version and use it internally without ever releasing it outside the organization.


As for distribution outside an organization (for outsourcing purposes, for example), this would be considered distribution and would give them all GPL covered rights. However, from personal experience, when dealing with outsourcers, companies are often very reluctant to give them inhouse tools, regardless of the license. 

> The problem is that according to the GPL, if you do that in
> the same address
> space, your code has to be GPL as well. Doing this legally
> as closed-source
> either requires building an out-of-process network based
> API (as Campbell
> mentioned), or building an LGPL API shim in the middle (as
> GIMP did).

The shim doesn't have to be LGPL, only GPL compatible.


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