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SubjectRe: Article: IBM wants to "clean up the license" of Linux
On Sun, 27 Dec 1998, Zack Brown wrote:

> Exactly! Here is the scenario: The FSF releases a GPL v.3 which allows
> proprietary forking. Someone at IBM downloads any version of the kernel and
> whatever other GPLed software they please, and use the "at your option"
> clause to accept the licencing of the software under v. 3 of the GPL. At
> that point, since they have the legal right to do so under v. 3, they do
> their proprietary fork of all that code, and bingo! proprietary linux! Of
> course, in that scenario they can't stop people from working on the
> nonproprietary versions, but they would certainly be legally able to
> distribute binary-only releases and not share the source of their
> modifications or even the original code. It would be a completely legal,
> closed-source version of the entire linux/gnu/etc OS, with no argument at
> all.
>
> This could happen any time the FSF decides to release a new version of the
> GPL. And they are not responsible to anyone for the content of the licence.
> They can make it say whatever they want it to say. The same goes for whoever
> might gain control of the FSF.

From the GPL, Version 2:

9. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions
of the General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will
be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to
address new problems or concerns.



Would "proprietary forking" really be considered to be similar in spirit
to the "old" GPL?..

-Simon Ekstrand


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