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Re: How long is linux going to be free ?

On Fri, Mar 28, 2003 at 09:21:49PM +0200, Aryan Ameri wrote:
> First of all, you get the wrong meaning for copyrighted. Free software is 
> copyrighted. Linux, and all GNU softwares are copyrighted. Copyright software 
> is not the opposite of free software, we use terms like non-free software, 
> proprietary software, and lock-in software, to imply the opposite meaning of 
> free software.

...so far, so good...

> But if by Linux, you refer to the platform, it is not possible for anyone to 
> make Linux a proprietary software. Because of the nature of copyleft (as in 
> GPL), you can never get things away from the community. Copyleft software, 
> does not have owner, so though lenghy discussions about this can be made, the 
> short answer to your question is : No, no single entity, individual, company, 
> or government can ever be the owner of free software, and rule it.

...but then you fall into the same misunderstanding you were just
trying to dispel.  Copyleft/GPL software _does_ have an owner:  The
copyright holder(s).  This allows such things as TrollTech being able
to license a Free version of their libraries under the GPL while
simultaneously offering a commercial version under a more
conventional license or other companies offering the latest version
of their software as proprietary code and GPLing older versions.

The key, of course (and perhaps this is what you were trying to get
at), is that once software is distributed under the GPL, there's no
way to rescind the GPL on that version of the software.  Taking it
back on later versions can be tricky as well, since (as noted by an
earlier post in this thread) it would require the consent of all
copyright holders (i.e., all contributors to the project, unless
they've assigned the copyright on their contributions to the project

The freedoms that we enjoy presently are the most important victories of the
White Hats over the past several millennia, and it is vitally important that
we don't give them up now, only because we are frightened.
  - Eolake Stobblehouse (http://stobblehouse.com/text/battle.html)

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