|It's important to distinguish the GPLv2 from the GPLv3. The latter has the
anti-patent provisions in it, the former does not.
The Linux kernel itself
remains under GPLv2. Part of this is because Linus is
not as "hardline" as RMS
on software freedom matters. Linus would prefer to
see wide acceptance of Free
Software, whereas RMS believes in the utmost
purity of freedom.
other of the most critical Free Software components, such as the C
fall under the LGPL rather than the full GPL. This allows them to be
statically linked into closed-source software, as long as they are not modified
from an open-source version.
What the anti-patent clause in GPLv3 means is
that an entity which distributes
GPLv3 software may not assert patents against
other users of GPLv3 software,
without losing the right to use GPLv3 software
themselves. It also means that
distributing GPLv3 software that an entity owns
patents on automatically
grants recipient users a recursive licence to those
I bet Apple and Microsoft are quite careful to avoid distributing
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