[lug] Fedora *MEETS* KRUD comments wanted

Peter Hutnick peter-lists at hutnick.com
Sat Sep 27 08:19:47 MDT 2003

Jeffrey Siegal said:

> I agree that Red Hat can not add any further restrictions to the
> packages themselves, but:
> a) It is certainly *not* the case that all of RHEL (or RHL for that
> matter) is GPLed.  There are large and important portions that are not,
> such as XFree86, Apache, etc.

In fact, some of the packages are not even Free Software (as defined at

Pico is a prime example.  (Try Nano instead. http://www.nano-editor.org/)

> b) Even for those packages that are GPLed, I don't agree that Red Hat
> can not set its price for support at $X times the number of systems
> running the suported software within the organization.  Since the GPL
> does not obligate the distributor to provide support (or any other
> service), the terms under which such support or services are provided
> are outside its scope.

Something that hasn't been mentioned, but I think it quite germane, is the
concept of "compilation copyright."  I am not a IP lawyer (or a lawyer at
all) but I believe that such a thing exists, and that it applies to Red
Hat's GNU/Linux distributions.  I think that these "facts" give RH the
power to license its distribution as a whole, with terms in disagreement
with the GPL, without violating the GPL (or more specifically, anyone's
rights under the terms of the GPL).

OTOH, I find it very hard to understand what RH means by certain nouns in
its license (as mentioned "system" is an example), which makes it hard for
me to understand their intent.

I would find it helpful if they would create a license FAQ in the form of
the GPL license FAQ (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html).


PS: I would like to offer everyone my thanks for their contributions to
this list.  The value and quality of its content continuously delight me. 
Has anyone noticed the frequency with which Linux related searches on
google generate first-page hits to our list archives?


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