Fw: Query about GNU-GPL

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at nedprod.com
Mon Mar 28 17:04:38 UTC 2005

On 25 Mar 2005 at 10:53, Jeroen Dekkers wrote:

> At Thu, 24 Mar 2005 12:20:11 -0000,
> Niall Douglas wrote:
> > There's a part of me who would like to see the GPL fully tested in
> > court with the FSF up against some very good corporate lawyers. 

I said FULLY tested, in other words not a clear open & shut case of 
blatent license violation.

> The GPL is already tested in court. See
> http://www.netfilter.org/news/2004-04-15-sitecom-gpl.html

This is the netfilters case, a famous and very blatent stealing of 

> http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050225223848129

I hadn't heard of this one before, but it's also a case of stealing 
of code.

In either, it was not so much the GPL itself which was being tested 
in court but rather general copyright law in that you can't just go 
take someone else's work and make it your own without permission. The 
fact it was the GPL as the license wasn't particularly important than 
any other license.

When I say fully tested, I mean for example some large company 
bundling GPL software with their proprietary system. Right now, 
companies such as MS won't even let a single GPL binary anywhere near 
their ISO's because of the legal uncertainty which surrounds the GPL -
 almost certainly, an aggregate of binaries doesn't invoke source 
disclosure but MS's lawyers will have advised them better safe than 
sorry. And that's a shame, because it's a pain in the ass for 
millions all over the world to have to go install various numerous 
addons to new installations of Windows which would be much handier if 
they came on the install CD (after all, we all don't have broadband 
internet yet!)


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