Civil Procedure Code (CPC)

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Alo Chatterjee (Project Lead)     07 April 2011

Question regarding software under GNU GPL


I need to clear a doubt regarding the GNU General Public License.

I am working in a company that conducts educational workshops. We have recently developed a software that we intend to use for conducting our workshop. This software is a derivative work of another software that is open source and released under GPL. So our software also automatically needs to be released under GPL. The GPL states that I need to make my source code available to anybody to whom I distribute the software.

I want to understand what exactly does 'distribute' mean. We are not going to sell the software to anybody as that is not our business. We conduct workshops and we will use this software for it.

So lets say we need to conduct a workshop for a company and for that we need to install our software on their computers. Does installing our software on their computers constitute 'distribution'? The software will be uninstalled once the workshop is over.

 8 Replies

Democratic Indian (n/a)     07 April 2011

Yes installing software constitute "distribution". Simple solution would be to respect the conditions of GPL License, it means your "derivative work" should be released under GPL License only.

Prasad Patwardhan (Techno-Legal professional)     12 April 2011

The term "Derivative work'  means based on , but has other angles as stated below::

1. The executable you will deliver / use has been built with GPL source code

2. Your executable is linked with GPL libraries. [FSF claims that just linking in code automatically makes a derived work]

There has been a precedence for both these flavoure,  judgements have gone in favour of GPL norms.

Mallik Karra (Done with AIBE)     13 April 2011

@ Author...


Any work derived by using the GPL is to be shared along with source code to whoever you distribute and the persons to whom you are ditributing also would be bound by this...... also withholding the derived work which is an outcome of some other GPL is a breach of Licence, if you want to hide your derived work and once it is discovered your firm will have to pay heavily.......

Alo Chatterjee (Project Lead)     13 April 2011

I appreciate the feedback on the GPL but my real question is about 'distribution' of software.


If I install my software on the computers of a company to conduct a training workshop for them (and uninstall it once the workshop is over), will it be considered 'distribution' of software? Because only if it is 'distribution' will we be liable to provide source code. 


so what I really want clarification on is that whether the use I have described constitutes 'distribution of software' or not.

Mallik Karra (Done with AIBE)     13 April 2011

For whatever duration you keep it installed you are bound to provide the Source code.


Definition: "Distribution" means conveyance or transfer of the Subject Software, regardless of means, to another.

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Alo Chatterjee (Project Lead)     13 April 2011


Sarvesh Kumar Sharma Advocate (Advocacy)     13 April 2011

wow wht is define!

Prasad Patwardhan (Techno-Legal professional)     14 April 2011

Distribution in this context would mean , you need to nake available the source code to the company for which you are conducting the training. they should be told that such source code is available at their disposal . Later if you delete after training then such deletion does not mean it was not shared / distributed

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