Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Alexandre Oliva aoliva at redhat.com
Tue Jul 22 06:15:56 UTC 2008

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

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>> 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.

> I can't find that exception.

There's no exception.  The entire license is just a grant of
permissions.  It doesn't (and can't) take away any other permissions
or rights you have.  That's the fundamental point I've been trying to
communicate to you, but you're apparently blinded by this
misconception that the GPL could somehow restrict what you can do.

>> 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.

> I don't think you are talking about the GPL here.

I am.

> but if you've agreed to the GPL terms covering that copy, you have
> agreed not to

Again, think dual licensing.  The phrase:

  nothing else grants you permission to modify or
  distribute the Program or its derivative works.

under section 5 of GPLv2 would preclude dual licensing if it was
interpreted the way you seem to want.  It doesn't (and can't) affect
any other permissions you might have.  Not because the GPL says so,
but rather because that's how copyright (pure, as in not-a-contract)
licenses work.  What is says applies to the license itself taken in
isolation, and it's true within that context.  Once you have other
permissions, nothing in the license can stop you from enjoying them,
regardless of whatever the license says.  It would have to be a signed
contract to take away any right you have.

> There has never been a clear definition of what constitutes a
> work-as-a-whole or makes it a 'derived work'.

That's a matter of copyright law, not something a copyright license
could define.

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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