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SubjectRE: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?

Linus:

Oh great!

> So while I publicaly say that I'm a lazy bastard, and the less I have to
> do with lawyers, the better - I won't actually say that I will never sue
> anybody. I'll say that it is "unlikely", or that people would have to
> irritate me mightily.

So what did you want for Christmas this year :-?

Maybe I should stop now because I have history of being able to "irritate
you mightily" !!!

You know me from our conversions offline and in person, and enough said
there. There are times when I am a classic BOHA and other when I a
serious and cold. You know my intent, and that is all that needs to be
said.

What I really want, is a better License for all.

Cheers,

Andre Hedrick
LAD Storage Consulting Group

On Wed, 10 Dec 2003, Linus Torvalds wrote:

>
>
> On Wed, 10 Dec 2003, Andre Hedrick wrote:
> >
> > How can the additional words alter the mean of GPL itself?
>
> They can't.
>
> But they _can_ alter your ability to sue. In particular, if you publicly
> state that you will not sue anybody over something, they can now use that
> statement to make future plans. If at a later date you decide to sue them
> anyway, they can point the judge at your earlier statement, and claim
> estoppel against you.
>
> So note how the license itself didn't change - but your ability to
> _enforce_ the license has changed by virtue of you stating that you won't.
>
> So while I publicaly say that I'm a lazy bastard, and the less I have to
> do with lawyers, the better - I won't actually say that I will never sue
> anybody. I'll say that it is "unlikely", or that people would have to
> irritate me mightily.
>
> For most developers that literally doesn't much matter what they say. Even
> when _I_ say something, that doesn't really matter to what other
> developers do, and while it could potentially limit me from enforcing _my_
> copyrights, it doesn't stop others from enforcing theirs. So my random
> email ramblings should really be construed as my opinions rather than any
> legally relevant stuff.
>
> However, the few extra lines in the main COPYING file end up being
> somewhat binding to others, simply because they are _so_ public (they are,
> after all, in the _main_ COPYING file) and they have been there pretty
> much since the beginning, that they would basically end up being a very
> strong argument in any legal case where some random kernel developer would
> try to argue that it doesn't cover "their" code.
>
> You don't have to agree to them, btw - you can remove them from the copy
> of Linux you distribute, since the GPL in no way requires you to keep
> them. They're not part of the copyright license per se, they are expressly
> marked as being my personal viewpoint. I suspect that if you do, you'll
> find companies that would be slightly more nervous to work with you,
> though.
>
> But nobody has really ever argued against the clause, even originally. And
> in this particular discussion, I don't believe anybody is actually arguing
> against it now either. The legal meaning of it may be under discussion,
> but I don't think anybody is really even _trying_ to argue that it should
> be removed and that we should suddenly try to claim that any future user
> programs have to be GPL'd.
>
> Quite the reverse - I think everybody involved would argue that that would
> just be crazy talk.
>
> Linus
>

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