Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Tue Jul 22 00:22:27 UTC 2008

On Jul 21, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at gmail.com> wrote:

> However, I still don't see how the GPL requirements are
> technically removed once you've accepted the license that applies them
> to any covered component of a work.

The requirements aren't removed.  They don't have to be.  You have
permission to use that code through another license, subject to other

The license is just a way for you to tell a copyright holder who
decides to sue you to get lost because you got permission to do what
you're doing.  AFAIK, it doesn't matter if A claims that she provided
you a work containing P under license X that says you can't do
something, if you have a license Y from B that applies to all of P
that says you can.  B gave you a license for P, so A just doesn't have
a case.  But again IANAL.

> Aren't you obligated by accepting this license to observe its terms
> which explicitly extend to the work-as-a-whole?

You're not even required to accept the license.  Even if you do, it
grants you certain permissions over the whole and every part of it,
but it doesn't take away any other permissions you may have or receive
over the whole or any part of it.

> Please do explain how you can accept a license, then subsequently
> ignore the terms.

You're not ignoring them.  Remember, there aren't restrictions in it.
It says "you can do X, Y and Z".  It doesn't say "you can't do A or
B", it just refrains from saying you can, and copyright law says you
can't.  But if you have obtained permission to do A or B, nothing in
the GPL stops you from doing just that.

> No, I always understood the fact that modules are not necessarily
> derived works and they simply 'use' the system interface as permitted
> by the Linux license.

The "and" appears to be conflating two separate issues.  They may be
related, but they're not the same.

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}

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