Scyld and GPL

Eric T. Miller emiller at
Wed Aug 22 15:14:41 EDT 2001

-----Original Message-----
From: beowulf-admin at [mailto:beowulf-admin at]On
Behalf Of Donald Becker
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2001 2:11 PM
To: Eric T. Miller
Cc: beowulf at
Subject: Re: Scyld and GPL

Wow!  I really stirred the pot, didn't I?  Sorry, I might have not been
interpreted as intended.  There was never any >>question that Scyld made the
binaries available for free.  The question I intended to bring up was the
contrast between the perceived availability of the commercial versions vs.
the source code, as presented on the web site.  With that cleared up, here
are some friendly rebuttals:
>> 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.
> In my question, I only refer to the code, my apologies for abiguity.
Making the image available is only what seems to be a best practice for most
of the major Linux distributions.  If you look on the web sites (with the
intention of finding them as opposed to NOT finding them) they are
relatively easy to nail down without too much poking.
>First, distributions are not subject to the GPL, programs are.
>Why, then is every major distribution of Linux also available for free?
Surely they would not do so unless required by
> the GPL or some other provision not mentioned here.
>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.
>Again, I do not suggest any mechanism other than those that we see
typically used with other distributions.
>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.
>Let me say that I am very impressed and satisfied with Scyld (which I PAID
for without complaint, and would do so again at any reasonable price.)  My
only point is that the location of the code seems ambiguous when compared to
what is typically found on other distributions' websites.  I know that more
than one potential linux cluster builder has been thwarted early on simply
due to not having the software readily available.
>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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