empowering users
to control technology

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Useful Compliance Tips For Users

These tips can help you locate some common issues in software that contains code under the GNU GPL licence. For detailed and authoritative information about the GNU GPL you should read the FSF's GNU GPL FAQ.

This is not legal advice. If you have doubts consult a legal advisor.

Basic guidelines

  1. Check if a copy of the GNU GPL licence comes with the software.
  2. Check if a copy of the source code comes with the software or there is a written offer to provide the source code on a physical media like a CD ROM for no more than the cost of production and shipping.
  3. Check that distributor does not claim sole copyright on the software if the software also contains code created by others.

More Detailed guidelines

  1. Check if the correct version of the source code is available. The source code has to be exactly the same version as the executable (object) code provided.
  2. Check if the source code includes the source for any derivative works of the GNU GPL code, not just of the third-party GNU GPL components themselves.
  3. Check if the source code includes the scripts used to control compilation and installation.
  4. If the toolchain is released and contains tools under the GNU GPL (like the GCC compiler), check if the source code for those tools is also available.

If you are worried that some software you got received is not adhering to the terms of the GNU GPL licence you can review the FSF's GNU GPL FAQ and the FSF's HOW-TO for using the GNU GPL. If you suspect there has been a violation of the GNU GPL you can contact the FTF and we will help you resolve the issue.