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

Richard Stallman writes:

> Putting GPL-covered programs together with non-free programs in a
> collection such as an operating system does not violate the GPL, and
> Corel is not the first to do this.  I think this is a harmful practice,
> and that even Debian goes too far in this direction, but there is no
> use singling out Corel for criticism.

Yes, the criticism seems to come mainly from particular phrases in the
license, and not from the general practice of mixing free and non-free
software in a collection.

> Making people agree to a license with conditions about the use of the
> non-free programs, as part of obtaining the GPL-covered programs,
> might be a violation, but I am not sure.  **As long as the license
> imposes no conditions on the use of the GPL-covered programs, other
> than the GPL,** one can argue that this is simply a way of choosing
> to distribute the GPL-covered programs only to those who are customers
> for the others.  That is legitimate.

That makes sense.  There seems to be a lot of disagreement about whether
or not Corel's license, as written, imposes new conditions on the GPLed
packages.  I thought that it didn't, but many people seem to think that it
does.  I suggested that Corel might just wish to resolve the confusion by
adding a disclaimer which states unambiguously that their license does not
attempt to restrict licensees' exercise of their rights under the GPL or
other free software licenses.

I wondered if the FSF had a recommended form for such a clarifying statement,
or whether you think one is useful.  Obviously, the GPL does not require the
use of such a statement, but it might be useful to authors of license terms
for aggregate works containing packages licensed under a variety of

> I think the crucial question here is, has Corel written significant
> new free software?  And what license(s) are they using for it?

I have yet to try their distribution, so I don't know whether the software
is "significant", but they've said that they have written new free software
under the GPL, LGPL, and MPL.

Whether Corel might have violated the GPL is also a fairly important question,
since some people in this discussion initially proposed suing Corel for
alleged copyright infringement.

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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