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

From: Daniel Hazelton
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 21:01:16 EST

On Thursday 14 June 2007 17:27:27 Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Jun 14, 2007, Daniel Hazelton <dhazelton@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > <somewhat sarcastic>
> > And the companies that produce devices that come with Linux and/or
> > other GPL'd software installed and place limits such that only
> > people that have purchased that hardware have access to the
> > "modified" source running on the device are following the letter,
> > and the spirit, of the GPL.
> WAIT, WAIT, THAT'S... :-)
> > Before you start yelling I'm wrong, think about it this way: they
> > make the source available to the people that they've given binary
> > versions to, and there is nothing stopping one of those people from
> > making the source available to the rest of the world.
> The *only* in your sentence betrayed you.
> If they place the limits such that nobody else can access the sources,
> they're in violation of the license.

Nope. There is *NO* requirement *ANYWHERE* in the GPL, no matter the version,
that says you have to *DISTRIBUTE* the source to *ANYONE* except those that
you have given a binary to. Go read the licenses.

> If they merely refrain from distributing the sources to others, but
> still enable the recipients to do so, this is not a violation of the
> license.

Exactly what I said. "only the people that have purchased the hardware have
access to the modified sources"

That is *EXACTLY* what a number of companies have done - Acer (yes, the laptop
company) has done that. They sell laptops running Linux, but unless you have
purchased one of them you can't download the sources (or even replacement
binaries) for the version of linux they put on their machines. (From Acer,
that is)

However, as I also said, there is nothing stopping one of those people from
making those "modified sources" available to the rest of the world. (I have
yet to find someone that has done that with the Acer specific stuff, but...)

> But then IANAL.
> > *AND* the GPL has never been about making the source available to
> > everyone - just to those that get the binaries.
> Exactly. Not even to the upstream distributor. That's where Linus'
> theory of tit-for-tat falls apart.

Yes, it does. However, the practicality is that there is nothing *stopping*
the person upstream from getting a copy of the source and incorporating the
modifications they contain in a new version.


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