Chuck Wolber chuckw at
Fri Nov 7 19:14:43 UTC 2003

-Fedora List-

> I have no idea what the stipulations are for RHEL license.  Here's what
> I do know about GPL'd software.  The GPL only specifies that the source
> code must be available with your product.  RMS hard-liners want people
> to follow the spirit of the GPL and distribute the source code _WITH_
> the software, and most people do follow this rather utopian philosophy.

Actually it's usually a matter of convenience. You have a 3 year
obligation attached to source code on GPL distributed software. As a
vendor of services, it's more cost effective to distribute the source with
the binary than it is to have to dig back through archives 2 years after
the binary went out the door.

> To the same token RHEL is made up of a collection of packages - Red Hat
> gladly gives out the source code for those packages (that's what the GPL
> mandates).

RedHat does not have to make the source publically available. They only
have to make the source available to those they distribute it to. *IF*
they make changes to the code, *AND* they distribute that code, *THEN*
they have to make the source code publically available, even to people
that don't pay for the binaries. This allows the changes to feed back and
improve the original product. It also just so happens that RedHat makes
changes to a good porpotion to the code they package up, thus
necessitating that it be publically available.

> However, if Red Hat makes utility that is included with RHEL released
> under a RHEULA (Red Hat End User License Agreement) that specifies that
> it could only be used on one machine - than it is their choice.  Even if
> the majority of the packages are GPL'd, that doesn't mean Red Hat can't
> choose to include something proprietary that must be licensed from them.  
> They have to make money somehow.

That "proprietary" part would have to be a package in and of itself (which 
can easily be removed), otherwise the GPL would override teh proprietary 
parts and thus make the entire package GPL'd.

> Speaking of which - I almost believe that Red Hat would allow you to
> install in on fifteen thousand machines - completely within the scope of
> the rights provided by their license.

It has nothing to do with RedHat or their license. If you remove their 
protected data, the rest is freely redistributable, regardless of what the 
RHEULA says.

> However, I believe RHEL would only give you one (or a very limited
> number) entitlement to RHN (which is where the money is, anyhow).

Of course. But there's nothing saying that you couldn't take those 
binaries, rebuild them and redistribute them to the other machines you 


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A: Because we read from top to bottom, left to right.
Q: Why should i start my reply below the quoted text?

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