The GPL and secrecy

Richard Stallman
Fri, 14 Jan 2000 18:41:08 -0700 (MST)

    In a recent slashdot discussion, someone reasserted the often-expressed
    opinion according to which a company may choose to keep modified GNU GPL'ed
    software secret, as long as it didn't distribute either source or binaries
    of it, just like anyone is free to make private modifications of such code
    and not redistribute.

I agree with that position, as a question of legal interpretation of
the GPL.  The reason is that the company is not distributing the program
in that case.

I don't think it is ethically right to permanently withhold useful
improvements.  But that is a different question from what the GPL