There is an open source project which uses GPLv2. It had numerous releases that complied with GPL in the past where source code was available for given binaries. The newest source code is about 18 months old and is being called a last "official release".

Since that OSed "last version" further development has been done by a single main developer. Features have been added and it is clearly visible that the code must have been changed. The main developer only holds part of the copyright for the whole package (it is not 100% his work, the project was started as a fork of another GPLed project). Lets call the ongoing development a TRUNK branch.

The problem is that the latest development is done as closed source and only binaries are being distributed for the TRUNK branch and no source code was revealed yet. While this most likely is a GPL violation and is a bad thing itself, I dont mind this (even as I should) because I want to use the TRUNK binaries.

My question is - what is the legal status of such TRUNK binaries that have no source available to them? Are these poised somehow? I want to use the binaries in my project which is open source itself but the binaries would be used in a standalone working unit that only is used for data acquisition so I most likely wont need to modify the unavailable TRUNK source code anyway.


The legal status for GPL binaries for which no corresponding sources are available is that they may not be distributed.

As a user of a GPL application, you are not required to actually have a copy of the sources. If you obtained a binary that violates the GPL, you are not automatically in violation of the GPL yourself, that only happens if you redistribute the binary yourself.

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