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Re: Dangerous precedent being set - possible serious violation of the GPL

[trimming RMS]

Caspian writes:

> On Sat, 27 Nov 1999, Seth David Schoen wrote:
> > You might be forgetting that the product called "Corel Linux" is a
> > collection of software containing both proprietary software _and_ free
> > software.  Because this collection contains proprietary software from
> > Corel, you do not have the legal right to redistribute it without
> > Corel's permission.
> Good point; I DO have the legal right to distribute the parts of it that
> ARE free.

This was actually the case with earlier versions of Red Hat Linux, for
instance, which contained proprietary software, and it's the case with
the retail version of SuSE today.  The FTP sites for those distributions
_do not_ contain the complete contents of the CD-ROMs (though they do
provide a usable proper subset), and you are _not_ allowed by the license
to post the entire contents of those CD-ROMs on the net.  But you are
certainly allowed to redistribute all of the free parts.

If a license _prevented_ people from making aggregations with proprietary
components, it would violate the OSD/DFSG!

	9. License Must Not Contaminate Other Software 

	The license must not place restrictions on other software that is
	distributed along with the licensed software.  For example, the
	license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the
	same medium must be free software.


If Corel did not have the right to make proprietary additions (I forbear
to say "enhancements") to Debian, then Debian itself would violate the
Debian Free Software Guidelines.

> > Corel probably _would_ consider people redistributing their proprietary
> > software without their permission "illegal", "immoral", or "against their
> > rules".
> ...and good for them...

The Debian Project chose to collaborate with Corel.  So the Debian Project
should appreciate that Corel may have a perspective on proprietary software
which is different from Debian's own.

This certainly doesn't mean that Corel is entitled to violate the GPL --
but I really don't think it should be a Big Shock and Outrage to anybody
that Corel writes proprietary software.

> So let's see what happens if we create a Corel Linux workalike by:
> A: Downloading Corel Linux
> B: Ripping out all the non-free software parts and
> C: Replacing them.
> then...
> D: Publicizing this heavily.

Hmmmmm, I think someone has already done this.  It was called, um... uh...
oh, yeah... "Debian GNU/Linux". :-) :-)

OK, Corel has contributed a bunch of things under the GPL.  If you (Caspian)
separate those things out of Corel Linux and distribute them for some other
purpose under the terms of the GPL, with the result that Corel Corporation
makes _any_ complaint to you about copyright infringement, "abuse", or this
redistribution being "against [Corel's] rules", I will send you any five
O'Reilly books of your choice.

Seth David Schoen <schoen@loyalty.org>  | And do not say, I will study when I
Temp.  http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/  | have leisure; for perhaps you will
down:  http://www.loyalty.org/   (CAF)  | not have leisure.  -- Pirke Avot 2:5

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