Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Rahul Sundaram sundaram at fedoraproject.org
Sun Jul 20 20:16:57 UTC 2008

Anders Karlsson wrote:
> * Rahul Sundaram  [20080720 19:42]:
>> Anders Karlsson wrote:
>>> And any license that does not permit itself to be replaced or
>>> over-ruled by the GPL - is hence incompatible - even if it explicitly
>>> permits combination with the GPL for any derived work or combination
>>> work.
>>> Am I understanding this right?
>> This part is incorrect. If has additional requirements but explicitly  
>> states that the combination is compatible with GPL, then it is. Affero  
>> GPL (AGPL) is a example of this.
>> http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/agpl-3.0.html
> Thanks Rahul for taking the time to be plesant and provide useful
> answers to a genuine question. You are a credit to your employer and
> to the organisation you represent.

That would be Red Hat and Fedora respectively but as always my opinions 
are my own and you should find a lawyer for legal opinions on specific 

> So the part of the work that is non-GPL licensed, can stay non-GPL
> licensed in the combined works and derivatives?

I would differentiate between original and derivative (along with 
combined work) here just to be more precise.

Not only can it stay that way, it must that way for the original code. 
Again, nooone other than the original copyright holder(s) cannot 
arbitrarily change the license of the original code and even the 
copyright holder cannot retroactively change it for the original code 
(aside from providing it under different licenses in addition)

For derivative works, the author creating a derivative work (that 
includes substantial creative works justifying copyright) might choose 
to publish it under a different license if the original license permits 
that. If the license requires that the derivative work also fall under 
the same license, it is generally referred to as copyleft.


GPL was the first license which used this technique but there are 
several others which follow a similar technique to various extends 
including the Mozilla Public License, MPL ( and MPL derived licenses 
such as CDDL used by OpenSolaris), IBM CPL (used for Postfix)and even 
the Microsoft Reciprocal License (which is both free and open source)


Even if the combined code is under GPL, the original code is still under 
whatever license it was originally licensed under and will remain that way.


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