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

From: Ingo Molnar
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 08:41:15 EST

* Michael Poole <mdpoole@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> > However, since the signing is an automated process it cannot
> > generate a "new" work - at least, not under the laws of the US - so
> > the signature itself cannot have a copyright at all.
> I do not suggest that copyright subsists in the signature or in the
> signing key. Whether it does is irrelevant to the signing key being
> part of the source code (when the signature is needed for the binary
> to work properly).

it is very much relevant. By admitting that the key is not part of the
"work", you have lost all moral basis to claim control over it. Cutely
"defining it" into the source code just hides what this really is: the
key is a "payment" in exchange for the license, which payment goes
outside the scope of the software itself. It has no relevance to the
software work being "free", it reaches for paymeant beyond the work to
advance the FSF's agenda.

yes, a copyright license can be used to control other works, it can be
used to control the movement of non-copyrightable items as well (such as
money), but the GPL always tried to stay out of that kind of business.

Where does this "reach out for more resources in exchange for the
license" process stop? As the value of free software increases, will the
FSF iterate the GPL to ask for more and more consideration for the
privilege to license that software? (All in the name of achieving more
freedom of course.)

> Similarly, copyright might not subsist in a simple linker script --
> its content being determined by the operating system and perhaps the
> rest of the program's source code -- but under the GPL, the linker
> script would be part of the source code for a compiled version.

the linker script is still part of the whole work though - even if that
particular element might not be copyrightable in isolation. Likewise,
the kernel contains code that is in the public domain - to which
copyright protection does not extend either. But you cannot argue that
the Tivo 'key' is part of the whole work. It is part of the _hardware_.
The Tivo box is a compilation (at most a collection) of multiple works,
and allowing the GPL to jump over derivation/modification lines is
wrong. The GPLv2 certain doesnt do that land-grab.

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