Licensing question about GPL/LGPL binaries

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Sat Feb 24 08:46:52 UTC 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jeffrey Goldberg" <jeffrey at>
To: "Kövesdán Gábor" <gabor.kovesdan at>
Cc: <freebsd-questions at>
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 9:02 AM
Subject: Re: Licensing question about GPL/LGPL binaries

> [freebsd-emulation cut from cc]
> On Feb 23, 2007, at 5:53 AM, Kövesdán Gábor wrote:
> > The question is that can we extract and provide these binaries in a
> > simple tar.gz file or is that considered a GPL/LGPL violation? The
> > sources are freely available on, but we are not sure
> > doing so is legally correct. What do you think about this?
> Gábor,
> What you plan to do is perfectly fine under the GPL as long as
> (1) What you distribute is under the GPL license
> (2) You let people know where they can freely get the source
> (3) You don't take credit for work that isn't yours.


  Kovesdan is not modifying the binaries or the sources, thus there is no
need for him to GPL license his distribution - the files in his distribution
already carry their own GPL license.  He just needs to include all of the
files, which by GPL requirement, are going to include a copies of the GPL
licenses that are applied to those files, as well as instructions as to
to get the sources.  He does not need to further apply some kind
of 'overall' GPL license to his distribution.

  It's a similar issue as someone running an FTP server with GPL software
on it, they are merely serving as a venue for the distribution.

  It's a fine point to be sure, but an important one espically as the FSF is
aiming to have multiple, incompatible, versions of the GPL floating around.


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