Re: [R] How can you buy R?

From: Berwin A Turlach <berwin_at_maths.uwa.edu.au>
Date: Mon 22 May 2006 - 00:51:05 EST

G'day Deepayan,

>>>>> "DS" == Deepayan Sarkar <deepayan.sarkar@gmail.com> writes:

    DS> A user can never violate the GPL. The GPL does not govern use,     DS> it governs distribution. Specifically, As I said, I stopped reading gnu.misc.discuss long time ago, but if I remember correctly sometimes in the (early?) '90s the following case was discussed.

A company made a binary module available for download and gave the instructions "go to the FSF site (or a mirror), download version X.Y.Z of program U and compile it with these options, then link our module and start the program, now you can use these features of ours and are in business". (Remember, these were the days when most "free" software was only available in .tar.gz form, people were used to compile their own software and slackware was the dominant (only?) linux distribution, no .rpm or .deb files.)

Note also that they did not distribute any GPL code, they said go and get it. As far as I remember, they were told by the FSF that they cannot do this and had to stop. And, IIRC, the argument was that whether they did the linking or let the end user do the linking was the same and, hence, the GPL was violated.

But it is quite possible that the argument was based on other sections of the GPL. And, obviously, there must be some mechanism in the GPL that prohibits the above procedure, otherwise it would be very easy to circumvent the GPL. (This idea of circumventing the GPL was regularly floated on gnu.misc.discuss while I followed it.)

Cheers,

        Berwin



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