Scyld and GPL

Walter B. Ligon III walt at
Thu Aug 23 09:23:08 EDT 2001


> > 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.

True, but still that's not a GPL issue.

> >
> >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.

Have you read the GPL?  Doesn't require free distribution of software.  It
requires that any distribution include the source, and that any distribution
allow the recipient to redistribute under the GPL.  It requires that IF
binaries are made available at some location, the source be made available
at the same location.

> >Again, I do not suggest any mechanism other than those that we see
> typically used with other distributions.

Certanly an arguable point.  But your first post indicated that Scyld might
not be living up the GPL license, and this is not the case.  I understand
that what you MEANT to say is that most distributions are done differently,
so why doesn't Scyld, but that isn't what you said at first.  Later you
mentioned "status quo" but that's really a judgement call.

I think the bigger question is how does a company like Scyld that is
putting a serious investment into code development survive?  That they
have chosen to go open source is wonderful, but theirs is a MUCH smaller
market than RedHat, and I would argue they have done much more complex
development.  I, for one, would hate to see Scyld fade into oblivion
because they have revolutionized cluster computing - and that kind of
thing needs to be encouraged and supported.  So they are walking a fine
line between trying to get paid for their engineering effort, and yet
remaining true to their open source roots.  Those guys are Linux pioneers.
They KNOW what the deal is with open-source software.  But can they
make an enterprise like Scyld actually work?

So, *I* would ask that the community keep this in mind - not that they
shouldn't be criticized, but let's not throw around inuendos that aren't
accurate and then get all defensive when they try to point that out.
Yeah *I* think they should have a link to free download on their web page
too.  I would understand if all that was there was source code.  But the
issue is public image, not adhering to the open source credo.


Dr. Walter B. Ligon III
Associate Professor
ECE Department
Clemson University

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