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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday February 16 2020, @02:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-way-out dept.

The head of security firm Open Source Security, Brad Spengler, says he had little option but to file a lawsuit against open source advocate Bruce Perens, who alleged back in 2017 that security patches issued for the Linux kernel by OSS violated the licence under which the kernel is distributed.

The case ended last week with Perens coming out on the right side of things; after some back and forth, a court doubled down on its earlier decision that OSS must pay Perens' legal costs as awarded in June 2018.

The remainder of the article is an interview with Brad Spengler about the case and the issue.

iTWire contacted Spengler soon after the case ended, as he had promised to speak at length about the issue once all legal issues were done and dusted. Queries submitted by iTWire along with Spengler's answers in full are given below:

Court Orders Payment of $259,900.50 to Bruce Perens' Attorneys

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17 2020, @08:47AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17 2020, @08:47AM (#959079)

    The GPL doesn't require you to distribute a copy of the source when you distribute the program. Read it. The only thing it requires is that you, for a period of 3 years, offer to make a copy of the source available, only to those you distribute it to.

    Yes. It requires the distributor of the binaries to make the source available at no more than nominal charge of distributing the said source.

    So, as soon as someone asks for the source, you are obliged to distribute the source to them. If you fail to do this *and* continue to distribute the binary, then you are of course breaking the copyright law and can be held liable both in a civil or legal sense.

    In essence, if you make some derivative work of GPL to general public, then your competitor could buy a copy and require you to provide source code. At that point they could just distribute it free of charge. And if you fail to produce source code, you are breaking GPL. If you fail to sell to them, you are breaking other laws. Have a nice day.

    Are you in violation of the GPL? Again, no. As a matter of public policy, impossible contracts are void, and the GPL is a contract which is now attempting to impose an impossible obligation on you.

    GPL is not a contract.

    It's a copyright license. You are infringing copyright (breaking copyright laws) if you are distributing things without adhering to the said license.