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SubjectRe: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
On Jun 21, 2007, (Lennart Sorensen) wrote:

> Apparently the only restrictions ever permitted are the ones the FSF
> thinks of.

Where does this nonsensical idea come from? How does it follow that,
from FSF offering a licensing option to authors, you conclude that
nobody could ever establish whatever other restrictions they liked?

> So really what the GPL v3 wants to have is to make sure that the user
> can reproduce from the sources a bit for bit identical copy of the
> binaries?

No, this is not enough to enable someone to adapt the software to
one's own needs.

> Too bad compilers that put time stamps and such into the
> binary would make that imposible.

This would be the copyright author imposing such a restriction, not
the software distributor.

> I don't think there is any way that can be written into the GPL that
> can prevent all loop holes for how to make signed binaries.

Which is one possible reason to explain why the FSF switched to the
'Installation Information' approach.

> There doesn't have to be an agreement. The software company could just
> release specs for a hardware design and let others freely go and build
> them from that design.

Aah, so the software company has designed a mechanism to restrict
users' freedoms, and is just leaving it up to third parties to
complete the implementation? I think these design documents could be
used in a court to prove intent to impose restrictions on the users,
but IANAL.

>> However, if there's no such agreement, if the copyright holder has no
>> copyright claims over the hardware or works shipped in it, there's
>> nothing the copyright holder can do about it, and that's probably how
>> it should be, since a copyright license (!= contract) can't possibly
>> prohibit people from creating hardware limited in function, it can
>> only tell people that, in order for them to have permission to modify
>> or distribute the covered work, they must abide by certain conditions.
>> And if they don't want to abide by the conditions, and they don't
>> manage to obtain a license from the copyright holders that doesn't
>> impose conditions they can't accept, they just can't modify or
>> distribute the work.

> But if the hardware ships with only code that simply waits for the user
> to provide some code for it to isntall (which has to be signed in a way
> the hardware likes), then the hardware has nothing to do with the
> license of the software.

Correct. That's pretty much what I said, isn't it?

> I hope no one does this, but I still don't see how the GPLv3 draft deals
> with this case, or even how it could deal with it.

It doesn't, and it probably shouldn't.

Alexandre Oliva
FSF Latin America Board Member
Red Hat Compiler Engineer aoliva@{,}
Free Software Evangelist oliva@{,}
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