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Vulnerable free software with shielded binaries

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One dubious strategy for protecting some users of free software is to release the binaries and the source code, but only offer patent protection for the binaries (the pre-compiled executable which can't be modified).


[edit] Examples

[edit] Fluendo's Gstreamer with mp3 support

[edit] Cisco's h264 video codec library

[edit] Is that really the source code?

It's difficult or impossible to know if the binaries really correspond to the source code. If the binaries were released under a copyleft licence such as the GNU GPL, then the publisher would be legally bound to release the actual corresponding source code. If, however, the binaries are released under a non-copyleft licence such as the BSD licence, then nothing requires the publisher to really publish the corresponding source code. It would be an act of faith.

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