Reply to post: Re: You mess with the GNU ...

Bruce Perens wants to anti-SLAPP Grsecurity's Brad Spengler with $670,000 in legal bills

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: You mess with the GNU ...

It would be up to a court of law, but it's quite clear that he'd lose. You can sell it. You can't stop people who buy it from giving the source code away. And by imposing an outside restriction on a future subscription service based on you NOT being able to legally exercise the rights under GPLv2, then you are clearly modifying a contract with an external factor... which could be considered sublicencing by imposing foreign clauses not written in the GPLv2.

And yet if GR had said nothing at all whatsoever about not supplying future versions, but otherwise did exactly what they're doing now, we'd all be agreeing that they were within their rights.

Look at it this way. I downloaded the source code. I've made changes, and given them to my mate Bill. I've now made more changes, but I don't want to give those to Bill. Bill is asking for them, wondering why I've now spurned him, but I'm not going to give them to him and I'm keeping my reasons to myself (basically, I think Bill is a plonker, and I don't want to hurt his feelings). Instead I've given these new changes to Alice. Where's the GPL2 breach in that?

He wouldn't win.

He might win, and that's the whole point. The matter is unsettled, and by cocking about dropping "opinions" in public posts, skirting round the issue, the matter remains unsettled, neigh, risks being settled in a manner contrary to the wishes of the majority of the kernel community.

If it was a clear and blatant breach of GPL2, some one (e.g. the EFF) should have sued by now. They haven't. I think it's reasonable to conclude that there is a strong air of doubt on the issue.

Plus, there's no need to. Nobody has ever proven a GPL weakness in any court in the world, and places like Microsoft, Google, IBM, etc. run in fear of the damn licence if they might be found to be on the wrong side of it. That tells you all you need to know.

Nor AFAIK has anyone proven a GPL2 strength in any court in the world. It's come close, but all the cases I've heard of have been stupid blatant breaches, settled before reaching court.

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