[lug] Fedora *MEETS* KRUD comments wanted

John Hernandez John.Hernandez at noaa.gov
Fri Sep 26 17:25:43 MDT 2003

Jeffrey Siegal wrote:

> Ed Hill wrote:
>>> You're not violating copyright laws, but you would be violating the 
>>> contract you have with Red Hat for the RHN *service*.
>> And how could that be?  How can Red Hat (or anyone for that matter)
>> place further restrictions on licenses such as the GPL?  The answer is
>> simple: they can't.
> Because it isn't a question of restrictions, it is a question of 
> pricing.  The RHN service is priced on the basis of how many systems 
> it is used *for* (and not, as you suggested, on the basis of "direct 
> connections").  Read the agreement.
> The GPL does not obligate Red Hat to deliver updates or any other 
> service to you, ever.  If you want them to do so, you have to agree to 
> their terms and pricing, or you are free to go elsewhere.
I'm pretty sure Ed is correct in his basic argument.  To a large extent, 
Red Hat is bound by the terms of the GPL.  He's essentially saying that 
once Red Hat delivers a binary RPM update for a GPL (or other "Free") 
package as promised by a RHN subscription (albeit for a SINGLE system), 
they cannot prohibit you (or anyone) from applying copies of this same 
update to other systems.  They're basically banking on the fact that 
it's more conveient/efficient for you to pay for and use RHN on all your 
systems.  There's sure to be a price-point for which that assumption 
becomes true in most cases.

I can't blame Red Hat for changing their business model.  In their quest 
for profits, however, it would greatly convenience them if we all forgot 
about Red Hat and the GPL's community roots and simply forked over the 
cash.  I'm not saying RHEL is not worth the price of admission.  I'm 
just reminding people that RHEL (or at least the overwhelming bulk of 
it) is not off-limits to those that cannot afford it.

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