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The kernel is NOT GPL2 only | 197 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Doubly not true
Authored by: Ian Al on Saturday, September 15 2012 @ 03:32 AM EDT
Red Hat say that their GPL code was integrated into the Twin Peaks product. Twin
Peaks would have to release both the free and non-free (as in beer) versions of
their entire product as GPL V2 licensed and with a royalty free patent licence.

The terms of that patent licence cannot be secret because there is no assurance
that it applies only to Red Hat owned copyright material. Red Hat need to be
able to offer that royalty free licence to all of the software that they
distribute under any version of the GPL.

It is likely that the software concerned is GPL V2 only. Even if it was GPL V2
or later, changing the whole product to GPL V3 would change nothing. The patent
would still have to be offered under a royalty free licence.

Changing to GPL V3 for the whole product would not make Red Hat whole for the
copyright violations up until that point.

BusyBox were happy to settle because they wanted the BusyBox software released
in compliance with the GPL V2. Once the infringers were in compliance then
BusyBox were happy to overlook the infringements up to that point.

Red Hat have been attacked with a patent suit. They will not want any further
'settlements' on the basis of a secret agreement. The release of their software
under a GPL licence is not the over-riding need in this case since the majority
of the product in question is not of their copyright. They need to protect all
of the copyright code that they publish (including that large amount whereby the
copyright belongs to someone else) from similar attacks. Secret settlement
cannot be a viable business option.

---
Regards
Ian Al
Software Patents: It's the disclosed functions in the patent, stupid!

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

The kernel is NOT GPL2 only
Authored by: Wol on Saturday, September 15 2012 @ 10:38 AM EDT
okay, in practice it is. But in law it most definitely isn't. Large chunks are
BSD. I've no doubt large chunks are V2 or later.

Point is, contributors can, and do, use whatever v2-compatible licence that
suits them. Point is, users can *safely* assume that v2 covers them.

But the code itself is not necessarily v2. If you want to dig, you can find code
that isn't, and can re-use it. But I doubt Red Hat's code is any other licence.
A lot of their kernel hackers are the vehement v2-only types, I believe.

Cheers,
Wol

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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