Wine license change

Steve Langasek vorlon at
Wed Feb 13 16:39:40 CST 2002

On Wed, Feb 13, 2002 at 04:59:08PM -0500, Roger Fujii wrote:
> Steve Langasek <vorlon at> wrote:
> > > you cannot sell *gpl binaries.  You can sell the media, but not the content.
> > > Think sun has a good idea with dual licensing and having assignment of the
> > > copyright.  This allows them to change the license so that they can make
> > > a productized version.

> > Since this is not the first time this mistruth show up in the discussion 
> > here, I think a clarification is warranted.

> it is NOT a mistruth.  Maybe I should have said, "you are not really selling
> *gpl binaries", but the meaning is the same.  By the license, the source
> and binaries are freely distrubutable, thus they have no monetary value.
> So assuming the people in a commerical transaction don't give something
> for nothing, the monies paid must be for cost of copying, media...

When you buy a book, are you paying for the physical paper, or are you
paying for the information contained within its pages?

How is this anything more than a semantic difference?

If I go to the grocery store and buy exotic fruit, the price I'm charged
reflects the costs in shipping it to my mundane Midwestern town, as well 
as supply and demand factors involved in the scarcity of my particular 
favorite fruit.  How does this change the fact that what I am buying is a 
piece of fruit?

Just because I can build a greenhouse, plant the seeds and grow my own 
'copies' of the fruit doesn't mean I'm not paying for fruit.

>> The second paragraph of section 1 of the GPL (v.2) states:
>>   You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and
>>   you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.

> How I read that is that you can charge for the _service_ of copying, but you
> are NOT charging for the content.

Semantics.  Whatever the license governing the software in question, I'm 
buying the same thing when I buy a CD -- and usually less when it's a 
proprietary license.  If one of these vendors is "selling binaries", then 
so is the other.

Or, if the only thing I'm buying from RedHat is the service of copying, 
then the only thing I'm buying from Microsoft is insurance against legal 
harrassment -- since Windows binaries are just as easy to come by, and 
just as easy to copy, as Linux binaries are...

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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