Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?

Gordon Messmer yinyang at eburg.com
Thu Jul 24 18:26:33 UTC 2008

Les Mikesell wrote:
> Gordon Messmer wrote:
>>> In accepting it's terms you give up your freedom to distribute any 
>>> part of the work under different terms, including any of your own 
>>> that you might want to add.
>> Since you never had any such freedom under copyright law, you aren't 
>> giving anything up.
> That makes no sense.  You do have the freedom and right to license your 
> own work under any terms you want.

I apologize.  I misunderstood what you wrote.  When you wrote that you 
give up the freedom to distribute "any part" of the work, I thought you 
meant "any part of your choosing".

Still, you are wrong.  The GPL grants certain rights to recipients of 
the "work as a whole".  Therefore, when I receive a GPL licensed work, I 
have all of the rights granted by the GPL to every part of the work.

Some parts of the work may be under additional licenses, such as the BSD 
license.  If I choose to copy those portions, I may choose to do so 
under the terms of the BSD license.

I may do this because under copyright law, only the original author of a 
work may change the terms of his license, unless they specifically 
transfer copyright to another party (which hasn't happened).  Since I am 
using the BSD licensed portions independently, and not as a part of the 
"work as a whole" which is licensed under the GPL, that passage of the 
GPL license does not apply.

Your entire argument against the GPL seems to be based on the idea that 
you repeat, that the GPL replaces the terms of components which are 
included in a GPL licensed "work as a whole".  This is not the case.  I 
strongly recommend that you read:

The first paragraph (a summary) addresses your concerns.  It illustrates 
two points:
1) you must comply with the included work's license, because it 
continues to apply when included in a GPLed work.
2) users who receive your GPLed work may extract the included work and 
reuse it according to its original license, because it continues to 
apply when included in a GPLed work.

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