Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3

From: Linus Torvalds
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 13:16:17 EST

On Thu, 14 Jun 2007, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> It's not that the hardware is deciding to impose restrictions on its
> own. It's the hardware distributor that is deciding to use the
> hardware to impose restrictions on the user. Seems like a violation
> of section 6 of GPLv2 to me.

You *still* haven't figured out the difference between "the software" and
"a particular copy of the software", have you?

What's your problem?

I doubt you're really stupid, so I think your problem is that if you admit
that "the software" is something *different* from "a particular copy of
the software", you realize (perhaps subconsciously) that your arguments do
not make any sense. So you do not allow yourself to think clearly about
the matter.

So let's look at that "section 6" that you talk about, and quote the
relevant parts, will we:

You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients'
exercise of the rights granted herein.

and then let's look at Red Hat sending me a CD-ROM or a DVD.

Now, Red Hat clearly *did* "further restrict" my rights as it pertains TO
THAT COPY ON THE CD-ROM! I cannot change it! Waa waa waa! I'll sue your
sorry ass off!

See the issue? You are continually making the mistake of thinking that the
GPLv2 talks about individual copies of software. And I'm continually
having to point out that that is a MISTAKE.

And it's OBVIOUSLY a mistake, because your reading is nonsensical. If you
think that Tivo does somethign bad, then hat Red Hat does is the same
badness, thousads times over! I strongly suspect Red Hat has shipped a lot
more CD-ROM's than Tivo has shipped boxes!

So let me iterate AGAIN:

- the rights that the GPLv2 gives *cannot* be about "the particular copy"
that you send, since that would be INSANE. Red Hat sends lots of copies
of software that are NOT MODIFIABLE!

- ergo, the rights about "the software" in the GPLv2 must be about
something else.

See? Your argument about "individual copies" simply DOES NOT MAKE SENSE!

Just admit it.

> > What the GPL *does* say is that you can't "add additional
> > restrictions to the license"
> Not quite. It's more general than that:
> You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients'
> exercise of the rights granted herein.

And your point is? Nothing.

The rights granted are the rights to "distribute and modify the software".
But by "the software", the license is not talking about a particular
*copy* of the software, it's talking about the software IN THE ABSTRACT.

In other words, the reason that Red Hat is not violating the GPLv2 is that
no, I cannot change the copy on the software on the particular CD-ROM or
DVD, but I can get a copy of the sources other ways, and make my own
modifications *SOMEWHERE*ELSE*!

The fact that Red Hat made a "restricted copy" is totally irrelevant.

In fact, it's exactly as irrelevant as the fact that Tivo makes a
"restricted copy". The *software* is still free!

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at