[aur-general] Notification of GPL violation

Manhong Dai daimh at umich.edu
Sat May 22 19:57:14 UTC 2021

On Sat, May 22, 2021, 3:52 PM Miguel Revilla Rodríguez via aur-general <
aur-general at lists.archlinux.org> wrote:

> El sáb, 22 may 2021 a las 20:51, Yangjun Wang via aur-general (<
> aur-general at lists.archlinux.org>) escribió:
> >
> > Not a lawyer here, but here is my opinion on the matter.
> >
> > I do not remember the GPL license stating anything about "sensible
> > modifications", and while I do partly understand how some people are not
> > happy about the certain clauses in some of these licenses, it is
> > important to remember that these licenses have legal effects, while
> > individual opinions on what modifications are "sensible" and what are
> > not do not have any legal effect in most cases. Personal opinions for or
> > against the chosen license do not excuse anyone from disobeying the
> > license as long as the license applies (of which the details may vary
> > depending on the country), in the same way "I hate person X" is in not
> > an (legally) accepted reason for killing the particular person in most
> > cases, although this comparison might be a bit extreme.
> >
> > Basically, if you have anything against the license of a software, write
> > to the author about it or do not use the software. Period.
> >
> >
> Not a lawyer either, but I think that the discussion, while really
> interesting, is missing a couple of core points regarding the license:
> a) Arch is not distributing the source code of the software in any form,
> modified or not

> b) Arch is not distributing a compiled version of the software either.

I repectfully disagree. In this case the package maintainer had a patch
file which includes some source code.

Thus, Arch AUR is distributing modified source code.

> And, as it happens that the GPL (as well as most OS licenses out there) is
> about distribution and not about (custom/personal) use, I really can't see
> how on Earth it is being violated.
> The point is that Arch (AUR) is just distributing:
> $ wget foo.bar/foobar.tgz
> $ tar xvf foobar.tgz
> $ [sed s/foo/bar/|patch < foobar.patch|whatever]
> $ make
> If the result of that never leaves the computer in which it was executed,
> where is the distribution element?
> I can take ANY GPL software out there, make as many modifications as I like
> (I can even change the copyright notice and put a string saying that it
> belongs to my dog) and, as long as it never leaves my computer, I am still
> fully compliant with the license. If upstream doesn't like me to mess with
> their code, then maybe they shouldn't publish the code in the first place,
> but there's not a single reason to try to forbid some others (AUR) to
> publish A SCRIPT that helps people build custom binary versions not
> intended to be distributed in any way. What would happen then with the
> PKGBUILDs that are downloading, modifying (yep, modifying to the point of
> removing/changing binary libraries, using patchelf, etc.) and repackaging
> proprietary software?
> In short, regarding upstream's request... nothing to see here, please
> disperse.
> Best,
> Miguel

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