Scyld and GPL

Jim Phillips jim at
Wed Aug 22 14:10:31 EDT 2001


On Wed, 22 Aug 2001, Eric T. Miller wrote:

> Since Scyld is built on top of Red Hat, isn't it subject to the GPL just
> like any other Linux distribution?  It is my understanding that if any
> previous code is used to develop a new distribution, then it is clearly a
> product of the GPL and should be made freely (and easily) available.  Please
> correct and educate me if I am wrong!

The GPL requires you to provide source code for your modifications, and to
make it reasonably available.  This is in
but there is no link to it from the Scyld web site (which is bad).  The
GPL does not require you to release binaries, much less a complete Linux
distribution containing your modifications, and it certainly doesn't
require you to allow the world to FTP CD-ROM images from your web server.
The low-cost edition is really a good approach to this, since you get a
real distribution for basically media and handling costs.

> If this is the case, however, will we see the download links given equal
> billing with the commercial (pay) links on Scyld's homepage?  This seems to
> be the status quo with all other major Linux distros.  I think many
> potential clustering enthusiasts are put off at first by the "fog" that
> surrounds getting your hands on the Scyld software.  This is not indicative
> of the sense of community fostered by the whole of the Linux family.

Since Scyld isn't required to do a low cost CD, I can't complain much
about the placement.  There's nothing to stop you from building your own
CD-ROM using the GPL source code and distributing it yourself.  (I'm
pretty sure that you can't just pirate the original Scyld CD image.) 
Personally, however, I like seeing open source developers get paid.


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