Scyld and GPL

Donald Becker becker at
Wed Aug 22 14:10:59 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.

Your understanding of the GPL is wrong on many counts.

First, distributions are not subject to the GPL, programs are.  Not all
of the packages in a distribution contain programs released under the
GPL.  TeX, X, and Perl are good examples of major non-GPL packages.

Second, the use of GPL code in a _program_ makes that specific program a
derivative work, and any distribution of the result must be under the
GPL.  The "derivative effect" does not impact the license of unrelated
programs in a distribution.

There is nothing in the GPL which requires any specific distribution
mechanism, or any specific price.  The GPL states that any sale of a
binary copy must include a transferable offer to provide the source code
for cost.

That said, Scyld is committed to providing an open source infrastructure
for high performance computing.  If you price the bandwidth costs for
high quality co-lo service, you'll see that a low-cost CD-ROM is the most
economical way to provide a basic distribution.

If you would like to make the 27Bz-7 (Basic Edition) ISO image available
for free from your site, contact us for the logo, naming and trademark

Donald Becker				becker at
Scyld Computing Corporation
410 Severn Ave. Suite 210		Second Generation Beowulf Clusters
Annapolis MD 21403			410-990-9993

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