Questions / Concepts GPL. Was: Re: GPL License with clause for Web use?

Sam Liddicott sam at
Fri Nov 30 14:21:49 UTC 2007

* simo wrote, On 30/11/07 13:42:
> On Fri, 2007-11-30 at 12:46 +0100, Bernhard R. Link wrote:
>> * simo <simo.sorce at> [071129 23:52]:
>>> Basically, Richard thinks that the "linked or combined" language does
>>> not imply modification. IE, releasing a patch against the GPLv3 part of
>>> the work under AGPLv3 would even be a copyright violation. The patch
>>> needs to be GPLv3. Only the combination of the works obeys to AGPLv3's
>>> additional requirements. But each piece retains completely its license.
>>> Therefore there is no risk that a GPLv3 work can be effectively turned
>>> into an AGPLv3 work by means of patches.
>> But even if this holds, someone could still patch the GPLv3 work to a
>> state where it no longer works alone, and then linking it with a AGPLv3
>> code having the missing pieces for it to work, couldn't they?
> I too think there are probably some pathological cases where it will be
> difficult to understand the boundaries, or where a patch to the GPLv3
> side even if GPLv3ed will not really be much of use without the AGPLv3
> part. 
or even if it will, or part of it will be some use.
> I guess that's inevitable but I think it will not be as dangerous
> as permitting an AGPLv3 patch to a GPLv3 work.
Perhaps, but it thus seems conclusive that the expectation of equality
can be broken after all: - AGPL fans can combine with GPL3 works,
enhance the GPL3 work, not distribute a patch, comply with the license
and yet the GPL3 author may not take these enhancements to their own
work unless they re-license as AGPL.

I think I have a good understanding of the possibilities and likelihoods.

Thanks to all for helping explore this.

I predict that Samba4 integration with groupware will be the first such
victim (if any), possibly resulting in a fork.

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