GPL and embedded linux Re: [oclug] Disintermediate the
Francis J. A. Pinteric
linuxdoctor at linuxdoctor.biz
Sat Jun 12 23:26:14 EDT 2004
On Fri, 11 Jun 2004 15:10:03 -0400 (EDT)
Charlie Brady <charlieb-oclug at budge.apana.org.au> wrote:
> On Fri, 11 Jun 2004, Francis J. A. Pinteric wrote:
> > Further, if I do decide to distribute the code then I could impose
> > upon you the requirement that you not distribute it.
> You may not decide to distribute the code, unless you choose to flaunt
> copyright law. Or unless the program is completely yours, in which
> case the GPL is irrelevant.
> > The clause "or for any other reason (not limited to patent
> > issues)" gives me a free hand here.
Actually it does. There is nothing in the GPL that says that I cannot
impose other requirements on top of the GPL to whoever I distribute the
Programme. Paragraph (7) of the GPL is precisely about that case. The
whole point is to create a situation where I am free to distribute my
derivative work in such a way that keeps me in compliance with the GPL
but prevents you from distributing it at all, except under terms of my
choosing. The terms of the GPL say that I have to distribute the source
code of any derivative work. Fine I'm doing that. However, at the same
time I'm saying that those portions of what I have created are
proprietary (protected by patent, commercial secret, etc.) and that
*you* are not permitted to disclose that information.
Since I own or have control over that proprietary information, *I* can
do with it as I like. So, when I distribute my code to you I am in
compliance with the GPL, since I am not restricted in any way. However,
if I impose upon you the additional requirement of respecting my patent
rights or keeping secret commerical confidential information (meaning
the source code) that would prevent *you* from distributing it any
Paragraph (7) of the GPL says that explicitly. "If as a result of a
court judgement or allegation of patent infringement OR FOR ANY OTHER
REASON (not limited to patent issues), CONDITIONS ARE IMPOSED upon you
(whether by court order, AGREEMENT OR OTHERWISE) that contradict the the
conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions
of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy
SIMULTANEOUSLY your obligations under this License AND ANY OTHER
PERTINENT OBLIGATIONS, then as a consequence you may not distribute the
programme at all." Voilà!
Let's look at it a step at a time.
1) I get GPL programme A and modify it to produce A-derivative-work.
2) I package it all up, including the source code and a copy of the GPL
and my own GPL-Breaker license which contains, in part, the following:
"Certain portions of the "A-derivitive-work" contain commerical
confidential information (and/or is patent protected) and you may not
redistribute that information under penalty of severe whipping by a wet
3) As owner of the confidential information and/or patent, I can
distribute that information all I like, so therefore I give it to you.
4) SInce you are not owner of that confidential information, and the
explicit presence of a prohibition against distributing it, you cannot
further distribute Programme at all, which is precisely the effect I
wish to create.
The "political left" is called that because most of
what they stand for is way out in left field.
As for the "political right", it is rare that you
find a group of people so consistently wrong about
everything. I'd rather be right than right wing.
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