[techtalk] GPL Questions

Kelly Lynn Martin kelly at poverty.bloomington.in.us
Fri Nov 12 01:09:47 EST 1999

On Fri, 12 Nov 1999 02:51:38 +0000, jenn at simegen.com said:

>	'I warrant that this code was written by me and I'm willing to
>let other people use it for free so long as they ALSO let other
>people use it for free'

That's not at all accurate.

The GPL says "Here.  You can use this.  You can modify it.  But if you 
give it -- either in this form or modified -- to someone else, you
have to give THEM permission to modify it and give it to anyone they
want, and have to exact from them a promise to do the same for the
people THEY give it to."

Note that the word "free" isn't in there.  The GPL doesn't forbid you
from charging.  If I have a GPL program I _CAN_ force you to pay me to
get it from me.  I don't have to give it to you at all if I don't want
to.  Of course, if I charge a lot, someone else who also has it will
charge less -- or nothing.  Hence, most GPL code is in fact available
for free, but the license does not strictly require it.

The foregoing is not legal advice.  For legal advice, consult an


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