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[rhn-users] The right to copy Redhat Enterprise Linux, was: Re: redhat enterpriselinux license conditions



After some discussion in Usenet redhat.linux.install
I summarize my position on this subject also for the
readers of this mailing list, because it is relevant
for all - current and future - users of Redhat Enterprise Linux
releases.

I understand that some Redhat advocates (and probably most Redhat
employees) will try to establish and protect revenue streams for Redhat.

But Redhat has chosen itself to go into a business which is
fundamentally based on the GPL. It cannot be allowed to bend the GPL, or
circumnavigate the GPL.


This is the scenario:


A)
I purchased a single copy of Redhat Enterprise Linux ES, Basic License,
paying USD 349.-.

This gives me the right to download the ISO files for this Linux
release, and to install and run it on one system according to Redhat's
license.
It also give me the right to use the update service of Redhat to
download errata and other extensions during 12 months from Redhat
network, for Enterprise Linux ES.
I can extend the license after one year, by paying again annually $349.-
for continuation of that right.
Redhat promises to provide relevant security updates for 5 years.

There is no right included to use any direct support services of Redhat,
except 90 days installation support after initial purchase (I usually
don't need that, having set up a number of redhat and other Linux
systems before).

B)
The software Redhat Enterprise Linux ES is a big, tightly interwoven
software system. About 99% of it is subject to the GPL, Gnu Public
License. Particularily the core parts, the kernel and most system
libraries are under GPL.
See: http://www.redhat.com/licenses/gpl.html

A small fraction of "The Software" is subject to a proprietary license
by Redhat.

The GPL allows me to copy software (source or binary) and use it on as
many systems as I like. It even allows me to redistribute it to others,
but that is not the issue here. I just want to run multiple copies on my
own systems.
The GPL is also infectuous. It applies to the whole Redhat Enterprise
Linux  because of the tightly interwoven nature of that OS.
RHEL is not a 'separate application' like for example an Oracle DBMS,
which runs on top of the OS. It is the OS itself.

Redhat would violate the GPL if it forbids me to create and run copies
of the OS.

C)
I use Redhat update services to maintain the single server which runs
the original RHEL, as the Redhat license entitles me.

Each time this server is updated (via downloaded RPM files), I am free
to copy these new RPM files and install them also on other systems. They
are part of the RHEL which is subject to GPL, and which permits me to
create copies.

I do never request or use any of Redhat's update and support services
from another machine than the one which hold the original copy of RHEL.

I state that under this scenario I can run RHEL on as many of my
computer systems as I like. The parts of the redhat License which would
try to forbid that are superseded by the GPL which allows the making and
use of copies.

This is NOT about stealing support services from Redhat, but about using
the rights which the GPL grants me.








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