RedHat and software patents

Alceste Scalas tjoad at
Sun May 26 11:55:58 UTC 2002

On Sat, May 25, 2002 at 12:35:14PM +0200, Joerg Schilling wrote:
    > The sourcecode definitely has now been published so it is
    > covered by the GPL. For this reason, the author grants royalty
    > free use by anybody. He cannot earn money from this idea.

Well, I don't agree...

I think that Red Hat could say something like this:

    "if  you  want  to make  a  derived  work  from our  GNU  GPL'ed
    software, then  you are free  to do it  (of course, you  have to
    respect the GNU  GPL terms).  You can use/modify  the version of
    our patented  idea that we  have implemented under the  GNU GPL,
    without fees.
    But  if you  want to  reimplement our  patented idea  on another
    program, then you  have to ask us for a  permission; then we may
    require that you choose between these:

        a. you release  your work under the GNU GPL  (if you want to
           use our patent without paying fees);

        b. you  pay a  royalty (if you  want to use  another license
           and/or release a proprietary program)."
I think  that it could  be quite a  realistic hypothesis ---  and it
could be  the first  software patent that  could be used  to support
Free Software :-)


alceste, who doesn't like software patents anyway
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