Re: DRAFT for a GR proposal concerning the Sarge release
On Wed, Apr 28, 2004 at 09:34:40PM -0400, Stephen Frost wrote:
> If we make a reasonable attempt to get clarification on the license the
> kernel is distributed under from the *source* of the kernel tarballs
> that we use then that should mitigate the risk. No, it won't remove all
> risk like getting agreeing clarification from everyone but that's not
> reasonable to do in this case as you pointed out.
"We can't reasonably get permission to do this" does *not* mean "therefore
let's just assume we have it". Debian makes a strong effort not to be
that sloppy and careless with licensing.
> Linus is where we receive the source from, is the originator of the
> kernel, originally decided the license it was going to be under, and may
> very well have the largest percentage of direct copyright in the work.
> It's clear, to me at least, that his interpretation has some weight.
It's clear to me that it doesn't have the weight of copyright holder,
if any GPL code owned by a third party has been integrated into the kernel
by kernel developers.
Just to be clear on the situation I'm considering: I write a piece of
code to sort numbers in an interesting way, use this code in a game I'm
writing, and place it under the GPL. John, a kernel developer, finds
that this implementation is ideal for sorting TCP packets, and so he
takes it, adjusts it a little to suit kernel use, and sends it off to
Linus, who puts it in the kernel.
I believe this is a normal, day-to-day scenario in free software; it's
something the GPL is designed to encourage strongly. (I'm not prepared
to start poking through kernel source to find examples of this, due to
time constraints and lack of motivation to trudge through foreign code,
but it seems self-evident to me that this happens.)
Neither John, Linus, nor the kernel developer body as a whole have the
right to be "clarifying" the license of my code. If I had personally
sent it off to Linus to be included, it might be different, but I, the
copyright holder, never interacted with any of those people.