Sometimes the GPL is Not Enough

You may or may not have known, but Fink is GPL’d. There are certain legal obligations that must be observed when you use GPL’d software. There are also certain cultural obligations that, while they don’t have to be observed, really should be if you don’t want to piss people off.
I’ve got no problem with the fact that OpenOSX repackages Fink. Under the GPL they’re allowed to. On the other hand, I find it pretty rude to not even mention the fact that they’re doing so. I wouldn’t have given this much thought but OpenOSX came up on IRC today. Someone mentioned their recent release of their “GIMP 2.0 prerelease” on VersionTracker (as well as lying about their GIMP’s capabilities).
Sure, it’s not illegal, but when someone else is charging money for work that I and hundreds of other developers are doing, usually in their spare time, it rather pisses me off. I’d happily forgotten about OpenOSX until it was brought up again on IRC; now I’ve gotten mad all over again. I’m not the only one, our previous head of Fink (who, incidentally left after feeling unappreciated for too long) put a similar complaint on the Fink site some time ago. If you have the time, give the e-mail exchange a read, it’s quite enlightening. (Actually, now that I look, the comments about Gimp 2.0p1 on VersionTracker are rather fun as well.)

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3 comments to Sometimes the GPL is Not Enough

  • I’m a little confused. The OpenOS install CDs and their subscription packages all notwithstanding, if they are dealing with all GPL’ed software, are they not obligated to release their code?
    Where is this code on their site?
    Have they isolated the installer from the GPL?

  • Not unless you’ve bought an OpenOSX CD. Generally people distributing GPLed code just put the code up on their site because it’s easier, but under the GPL license, the only people they’re obligated to provide changes to is people they’ve given their binaries to.

  • Feanor

    If they are faithfully following my gimp packages, then those lies are REALLY funny. I noticed the gimp’s default compile flags sucked only after that release, so their binaries are probably at -O0 🙂