Misunderstanding GPL's terms and conditions as restrictions (was: Re: Why is Fedora not a Free GNU/Linux distributions?)

Antonio Olivares olivares14031 at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 28 01:30:45 UTC 2008

> > I have gotten more of an insight on this issue and I
> have to say that
> > although you have many good points, Les has very good
> points as well.
> > I have gotten some input regarding issues with GPL.
> ...
> > /* name withheld to protect the identity of this
> previous GPL author
> > */
> You mean someone *other* than Les?
Yes :) 
> > As a GPL developer, he tried to sue some GPL violators
> and found that
> > you cannot succeed. The majority of GPL violations
> is/was done by
> > small companies that cannot be threaten by forbidding
> them to sell
> > their products that are based on the violation.
> That's exactly what copyright law offers.  If someone
> is distributing 
> your software in violation of the license, the court can
> order them to 
> stop distribution.  The GPL, specifically, will also
> terminate their 
> rights to distribute as a result of their violation.  If
> they want to 
> continue to distribute the software, they must negotiate
> with the 
> copyright holder to restore that right.
> > As you in general cannot sue people for GPL
> violations, why should we
> > add restrictions to software that just hit the users
> but not the
> > abusers?
> That is a ridiculous assertion that has no foundation.  The
> GPL does not 
> "hit" users in any way.  They don't even have
> to accept its terms unless 
> they want to distribute the software.
> If the GPL were ineffective against abusers, then it
> wouldn't affect 
> anyone at all.  Portraying users as innocent victims of the
> GPL is an 
> outright lie.
> > The logical result from this question is to put
> software under a
> > license that does not restrict collaboration in the
> OpenSource area
> > (like the GPL unfortunately does).
> That result is also illogical.  If your supposed GPL
> developer couldn't 
> enforce the GPL against companies that violated its terms,
> then I don't 
> see any reason to believe that he could enforce any other
> license, 
> either.  He might as well put his software in the public
> domain and 
> ignore licenses completely.
Here's an example of a case that the GPL has not helped the original author 


The case is still pending :(, but pretty much the abusers or bad guys can get away with a great deal.  This is unfortunate to the original authors despite having the copyright(s).  
> > In the early 1990s we probably needed the GPL, but now
> it is no
> > longer needed because it does not  allow collaboration
> between
> > different OpenSource communities.
> More nonsense.  Nothing significant has changed since the
> 1990's.  If 
> anything, there are now even more companies which would use
> code that is 
> currently GPL licensed in proprietary products.
> > The GPL is an  "universal receiver"
> > of software from other licenses but it does not allow
> GPL code to
> > move towards other projects.
> That's not a fair characterization, either.  The GPL is
> not a "universal 
> receiver".  It can only include software that is under
> compatible 
> licenses.  Furthermore, the license itself does not prevent
> GPL code 
> from moving into other, more permissively license projects.
>  It does not 
> do so by default, certainly, but if there is good cause to
> contribute 
> code to a project under a more permissive license (such as
> in the case 
> that the GPL project used some code from the other, more
> permissively 
> licensed project), then the authors of that project can ask
> for a copy 
> of the software under a suitable license.
> Negotiating.  We can all do it.  Licenses don't change
> that.
We can negociate, the hard part is being in agreement :(




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