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    It would seem clear as day that you therefore cannot pirate GPL software because anyone has the right to copy it.

    You can easily “pirate” GPL software. The right to copy is only granted by the terms of the license, and if you break those terms, your right to distribute it is revoked.

    Of course, using the term “pirate” to refer to copyright violation is foolish; equating robbery on the high seas with a benign act like duplicating bytes plays right into the hands of people who want to harshly prosecute people for sharing, but that’s a whole different can of worms.

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      That seems strange that elementaryOS developers would try to deny others the same rights that were essential in allowing them to make and distribute elementaryOS in the first place!

      The right they wanted to deny others was the right to distribute CDs using the name ‘elementaryOS’, which could reflect on them as an entity. They restricted nobody’s right to do anything with the software itself.

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        The right they wanted to deny others was the right to distribute CDs using the name ‘elementaryOS’, which could reflect on them as an entity.

        But that was already covered by GPLv2:

        If the software is modified by someone else and passed on, we want its recipients to know that what they have is not the original, so that any problems introduced by others will not reflect on the original authors’ reputations.

        And on

        They restricted nobody’s right to do anything with the software itself.

        that is not what I understand by

        Both distros have rules on their various subreddits (/r/elementaryos and /r/zorinos) that users cannot post links and sometimes information on how to build your own is removed. If someone builds their own .iso or shares the information to do so, they will have their post deleted and be banned.

        To me, it seems they are limiting people’s ability to distribute of a variation of their GPL’ed product, which goes against the GPLv2 (and v3) text:

        Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients’ exercise of the rights granted herein.

        But in the end, I think the problem is more of moral origin (do not delete posts) than licensing one.

        <sarcasm> Maybe a GPLv4 will address this kind of problem. </sarcasm>

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          This is basically the less serious version of the RHEL agreement. Redhat distributes GPL binaries if you sign a support contract with them. Even though Redhat distributes the source to all of their programs, the support contract comes with very strict conditions against redistributing those binaries, and basically voids the contract.

          Many people say that this goes against the spirit of the GPL, but I’m not one of them.

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            Many people say that this goes against the spirit of the GPL […]

            As far as I understand the GPLv2 §3, the Red Hat’s restriction violates the GPL:

            You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above […]

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              You are allowed to redistribute the binaries. Redhat does not prevent you from distributing the binaries. All they do is stop providing support if they find out you have done so.

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        In the case of ZorinOS Reddit, does the GPL cover the whole iso distribution, or only individual pieces of software part of a larger operating system distribution? I’d say the branding of ZorinOS is not GPL, but I’m not sure (IANAL). Microsoft distributes software coming from various operating system distributions with WSL, but their whole operating system is not yet GPL-ed.