What good is VNC's GPL?
michaelk "at" ctssystems.com
Fri Apr 8 18:23:02 2005
Speaking of the GPL. I have had problems with Laplink in giving me the
latest version on their source. This surprises me because when they first
modified vnc (to add SSL support to the server and java viewer) they had a
link on their web site to it. But when Laplink updated vnc to add SSL
support to their vncviewer.exe, the link disappeared. There was no link in
the license agreement in the install either.
When I emailed them, I got no reply. Then I got on their live chat and
requested it that way and the guy gave me the old source code link (I opened
and checked it) and then kinda blew me off. I included the chat dialog
For anyone interested, is the latest Laplink Secure VNC
Here is the source code link the guy claimed has the vnc viewer code (but
And here's the chat transcript
Ivan: Welcome to Laplink Technical Support. How may I help you?
Michael: Me again. I am trying to get the latest source code for Laplink
Secure VNC. The link
http://www.laplink.com/download/vnc/llvnc_1_0_35_src.zip does not contain
the changes to the VNC viewer making it SSL enabled.
Ivan: Probably you are looking for this one then:
Michael: No, that's the java viewer. In the Laplink Secure VNC version 1.1,
the c++ viewer is SSL enabled
Michael: So the source code from the link
http://www.laplink.com/download/vnc/llvnc_1_0_35_src.zip doesn't contain the
SSL code for the viewer.
Ivan: I don't think the SSL part of the code is available to the public. I
will have to check that with some of the heads.
Michael: If its part of the orginal VNC source, it is GPL so they have to
make it public. That's why the VNC server has the SSL code public.
Ivan: but the oginal VNC source code can be retrieved from
Ivan: that is where you need to retrieve the VNC source code.
Ivan: As I said before... I need to check with my boss. Those are the only
links available to me
Michael: True but laplink made changes to the server and viewer to make it
SSL enabled. I think your source code download link is just out of date.
Michael: If you check with your boss, will you inform me as to the new link?
Ivan: One moment please.
Ivan: Alright... the SSL implementation is not there. They will add it to
the download site. You will have to check back in a couple of hours.
Michael: Will it be the same link?
Ivan: I don't know. The developer said it the SSL implementation is open
source. So probably it will be a different link.
Michael: Is there a page I can go to to check?
Michael: Or you could eamil me the new link?
Ivan: He is the open source code for the SSL part:
Michael: That's the library for the java viewer.
Ivan: The developer said the SSL code comes from www.bouncycastle.org. You
need to contact them for the SSL source
Michael: Is the developer add the source code for the SSL enabled c++ viewer
to the download in addition to the java source code? The c++ viewer would
use the Microsoft CryptoAPI just like the SSL enabled c++ VNC server does.
Ivan: what do you mean?
Michael: Sorry to catch you in the middle like this. But Laplink Secure VNC
uses the GPL open source code based on RealVNC. Laplink made the VNC Server
(written in c++) SSL enabled using the Microsoft CryptoAPI SSL libraries.
They also made the java viewer (written in java) SSL enabled using
BouncyCastle. Following the GPL license, they were required to (and did)
make the source code available to the public. But at the time the VNC Viewer
(written in c++) was not SSL enabled. Now there is a new executable that
contains a SSL enabled VNC Viewer (written in c++). So according to the GPL
license, they are required to make that source code public as well. I assume
they simply haven't published the source code yet, but intend to. But when
they do publish it, I have no way to know the location of the new file
unless there is a link for it on the Laplink website (which currently there
Ivan: One moment please.
Ivan: Ok. I just got the confirmation and I just checked it... The SSL files
are in the first link I send you...
Michael: Excellent, I check it out. Sorry to take so much of your time.
Ivan: ... and it was there from the beginning..
Ivan: Have a nice day!
Chat session has been terminated.
From: vnc-list-admin "at" realvnc.com [mailto:vnc-list-admin "at" realvnc.com]On
Behalf Of Mike Miller
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 7:10 AM
To: Steve Bostedor
Cc: Sean Kamath; Yann Renard; Grant McDorman; VNC List
Subject: RE: What good is VNC's GPL?
On Fri, 8 Apr 2005, Steve Bostedor wrote:
> They are violating the GPL by not including the source and a copy of the
So you actually purchased the product and found that the source is not
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