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Re: Re: Using GPL'd Perl Modules in Commercial Software

by cjf (Parson)
on Feb 17, 2002 at 19:40 UTC ( #146028=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: Using GPL'd Perl Modules in Commercial Software
in thread Using GPL'd Perl Modules in Commercial Software

There's nothing wrong with selling GPL'd modules: the GPL does not state that you have to give software away for no cost, only that you must make the source code reasonably available.

According to the Faqs (Thanks to IlyaM for the link :)...

Except for one special situation, the GNU General Public License (20k characters) (GNU GPL) has no requirements about how much you can charge for distributing a copy of free software. You can charge nothing, a penny, a dollar, or a billion dollars. It's up to you, and the marketplace, so don't complain to us if nobody wants to pay a billion dollars for a copy.

I was under the impression that the GPL specified you could only charge a "reasonable rate" for distributing the software. I was obviously wrong about this and your first statement is correct.

The other nit, why are you worrying about having to supply a copy of the GPL? You can't inform a user of their rights without giving them the licence: this isn't GPL specific; the same applies with any other licence.

I don't think I fully understand what you're saying here. Surely you're not claiming that I shouldn't supply a copy of the license because if they do not know their rights, they can't use them?

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Re: Re: Re: Using GPL'd Perl Modules in Commercial Software
by kal (Hermit) on Feb 18, 2002 at 16:34 UTC

    The other nit, why are you worrying about having to supply a copy of the GPL? You can't inform a user of their rights without giving them the licence: this isn't GPL specific; the same applies with any other licence.

    I don't think I fully understand what you're saying here. Surely you're not claiming that I shouldn't supply a copy of the license because if they do not know their rights, they can't use them?

    No, I'm not saying that at all!! My point was, whenever you distribute software, you always need to tell people what rights they have, and distribute the licence with it. This isn't a problem of the GPL: the requirement of the GPL (and all other licences!) is that you inform the user of the agreement they're making before they use the software.

      Sorry about the misunderstanding :)

      You're quite correct about distributing the license. What I am wondering is how many people actually mention the GPL and what components it applies to in the software they are selling. Failure to do so would be a violation of the GPL, correct?

        Correct. As section 1 of the GPL says:
        1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program.
        If you do not do this then you are distributing software without the permission of the copyright owner and are in violation of the GPL.

        Or at least that is the intent. Whether that will work in practice is open to question. There is, of course, no case law on the GPL. However there does not seem to be much of a question about its enforcability - were there a significant loophole some corporation's legal eagles would have decided not to blink when confronted.

        For more on this Eben Moglen has written an essay on Enforcing the GNU GPL. It is worth the read.

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