Official position of RedHat regarding software patents

Xavi Drudis Ferran xdrudis at
Wed May 29 21:14:34 UTC 2002

El Wed, May 29, 2002 at 08:37:12PM +0200, Werner Koch deia:
> Jan asked why GPL compatible licenses are not included.  This would
> include the reformed BSD one and the LGPL.  I can understand that they
> are not in the list of Approved Licenses (it would allow even
> proprietary software to use the patent without royalties), however it

I'm confused about this. 

Can't I redistribute a library under LGPL or a work that uses the library, 
under the LGPL itself if a patent would prevent someone from distributing 
a work that uses the library and is not licensed under LGPL?. 

I mean, in case RH added LGPL to the list of Approved Licenses, would 
that mean that people who kept the LGPL would enjoy the RF patent license, and 
people who linked the library with nonfree software would need a separate 
patent license from RH, or couldn't do it?. Or the LGPL does not permit that,
and therefore no library that infringed the patent could be distributed 
under LGPL ?

Anyway, I think the BSD license would allow such works using the library 
(or whatever), so could RH include
the BSD in the Approved Licenses, and still their competitors could 
not distribute software using RH's patents in propietary software?. 
But they could distribute nonfree software without the BSD code and have the 
user link to the BSD code (but then at least business users would ifnringe 
RH's patents).

How much wrong am I?. 

> is a Bad Thing to alienate the BSD and XFree folks from the GPL
> department of the Free Software community by not allowing them to
> reimplement something under their license.  X and some BSD licensed
> code is even a part of the GNU project.

And it is a bad moment to do it, since the debate on swpats in Europe 
could suffer from people assuming swpats are ok for free software because 
RH applies for them.

But then I guess not all information about the reason behind this 
decision is public. It is sad, anyway.

Xavi Drudis Ferran
xdrudis at

More information about the Discussion mailing list