[lug] Fedora *MEETS* KRUD comments wanted

Ed Hill ed at eh3.com
Fri Sep 26 19:57:36 MDT 2003

On Fri, 2003-09-26 at 19:25, John Hernandez wrote:
> 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.

Hi Jeffrey,

Would you please post a URL or an excerpt from their license(s) that
supports the above statement?  I've spent about 45min reading through
the documentation at https://rhn.redhat.com/ and can't find anything to
support your view.

On the other hand, I've re-read the GPL and can find plenty of evidence
there [eg. http://www.redhat.com/licenses/gpl.html] to support my
claims.  For many of the packages within RHEL, Red Hat must obey the GPL
terms and therefore cannot add any further restrictions.

> 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.

Hi John,

Well put!

We must never loose sight of license terms (whether we "like" them or
not) since they are a contract and legal use and/or distribution of the
software depends upon our compliance.

And while I've described practical means for running RHEL "on the
cheap", let me say that I have no ill will towards or lack of trust in
Red Hat.  In fact, I applaud what they're doing.  As soon as my current
RHN subscriptions expire, I _will_ renew them.  I'm just not going to
loose sight of the license terms.


Edward H. Hill III, PhD
office:  MIT Dept. of EAPS;  Room 54-1424;  77 Massachusetts Ave.
            Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
email:   eh3 at mit.edu,  ed at eh3.com
URL:     http://web.mit.edu/eh3/
phone:   617-253-0098
fax:     617-253-4464
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