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SubjectRe: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Linus Torvalds wrote:

> You continue to ignore the big important fact that:
>
> - section 2 is _conditional_ on section 1

I'm not ignoring this -- I really just don't see it to be relevant. All
sections have to be obeyed the same, and in this sense all sections are
conditional on all others. Violate one, and the license is not available
to you. This goes without saying.

> - section 1 (and FSF guidelines) _requires_ you to leave copyright
> notices intact and give the license out along with the program.
>
> IOW, your claim that the GPL requires you to be able to make changes is
> INCORRECT.

There are two things here that need seperating. On the one hand, we have
"the program". On the other we have "the license" (and license notices).
The GPL requires you to be able to make changes to the program, not the
license. In the context of the Linux kernel, Linux is the program, and
the GPLv2 is the license. In the context of the GPLv2, the GPLv2 is the
program, and:

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

is the license. If you couldn't change just this bit (and the FSF
copyright) then things would not conflict. But this very license says
you can't change _the program_ (the license document). This conflicts.

> This can, btw, also be shown independently by the fact that the FSF
> clearly _intended_ the license to be actively linked into the
> program: they ask you (in the "How to Apply These Terms to Your New
> Programs") to have commands to view parts of the license if your
> program is interactive.

This, in fact, seems to be a good point. This one wants an FSF lawyer.

> So. Claiming that the GPL license text itself cannot be part of the
> program is disingenious. According to your reading, the modified BSD
> license wouldn't be compatible with the GPL either, because it requires:
>
> * 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
> * notice, this list of conditions, and the following disclaimer,
> * without modification.
>
> yet the FSF has clearly stated that this is perfectly fine, even though it
> also disallows modifications to the license text.

But please note that this is indeed perfectly fine, and does not
contradict anything I say. This requirement only disallows modifications
to the copright and license notices, not modifications of the
_program_ and the GPL is perfectly fine with that.

This is the point I've tried to make a number of times now. The program
is not the same thing as the license and allowing or disallowing
something being done to the license is not the same thing as allowing or
disallowing something to be done to the program. And in the case of the
GPL license text, the license text _is_ the program. Not the license.

Note, we are arguing here over whether or not the GPL document itself is
GPL compatible. I feel it obvious that it is not, you do not agree. What
we _do_ agree on though is that it's wholy irrelevant for the kernel at
least since 2.4.0-test8.

Ever since then, the kernel as a whole has been V2, not a doubt about
it. You feel that even before that, it was V2 only but then you are
ignoring the very strong point Paul Jakma made and which I repeated: if
the "Version 2" in the GPL header were enough to have the program
specify a version, section 9 would be utterly useless, and as such it's
obvious that at very least the intent of the GPL authors here was that
it was _not_ enough.

Hey, you still replied, so you probably don't think I'm completely full
of it. Did you think there was any merit in the suggestion of seperating
the GPL and the NOTE into separate files, so as to leave even fewer room
for people trying to milk the argument?

Rene.

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