Wireshark-users: Re: [Wireshark-users] Windows installer bug: Users shouldn't have to accept GNU
From: Shawn Willden <[email protected]>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 10:09:21 -0600
On Thursday 21 September 2006 09:29, Jaap Keuter wrote:
> I'll copy my reply here as well in order to completely inform the
> community.

Thanks.  I thought about doing that, but decided it would be better to let 
you :-)

> Well, users of the program don't have to accept the GPL. I can walk up to
> any machine which has Wireshark installed and use the program without
> being asked to accept the GNU GPL.
> On the other hand, handlers of a copy of the software, which they want to
> install, do have to accept the GNU GPL since it concerns distribution.

This isn't correct under US law (probably the strictest in the world, thanks 
to our big media lobbies), and the FSF's opinion, according to the GPL FAQ, 
is that it's not required anywhere.  Their FAQ states that it is "neither 
required nor forbidden".

This isn't an issue of legality, it's a question of perception and what does 
the best job of helping people understand what free software is.  I think a 
click-wrap agreement is a bad precedent to follow, but I do think displaying 
the GPL up front is a good idea, hence my recommendation to introduce the 
license but be careful not to imply that the user has to agree to it.