Understanding GPL: was...What price do you want?

Stephen Smoogen smoogen at lanl.gov
Fri Sep 26 17:46:38 UTC 2003

On Fri, 2003-09-26 at 11:11, Buck wrote:
> Christian, 
> Thank you for your reply.  

> Likewise, I could create a proprietary c-compiler and a text editor and
> link them from a modified GPL Library.  I still have Jump-C but where do
> I draw the line in the re-distribution of the binaries?  Obviously I
> have to provide source code for the menu and the GPL libraries I include
> with the compiler but not the compiler and editor.  
> The GPL makes provisions for proprietary products included with GPL
> products.  Maybe the real question is how is the binary actually
> covered?
> You mixed in the Red Hat logos and other trademarks.  From what I
> understand, I can copy, sell, or otherwise distribute Red Hat Linux 9.
> Is this correct?  Does not GPL give me that right?  RHL includes logos
> etc. 

No you can not sell the product as Red Hat Linux 9. You can give it away
without changes but if you sell it you must rename it something like
PinkTie Linux etc. This is a minimal requirement to keep the trademark
under international trademark law.

>      Begin quote:
> You can not represent that you are offering to others a Red Hat product
> because you are not - you are not offering support, you are not offering
> any of the genuine Red Hat services that we provide for our products.
> We're working really hard to make sure that a Red Hat product, when it
> gets offered, it gets offered with the whole set of support options and
> services that we currently provide.
>      End quote:
> You are effectively saying that if a person distributes Red Hat Advanced
> Server that it isn't Red Hat unless it comes with the service contract.
> Here you are mixing the product and the service together.

I think he is only mixing it where the two intersect (the code that you
recieve is supported and maintained by Red Hat). The easy way to get
around this restriction is to take all the SRPMS, remove/replace the Red
Hat trademarked items (ICONS, Artwork, and maybe one or two), and then
recompile the SRPMS into RPMS. At that point you have created your own
work. You can not call it Red Hat, but have an almost identical
functioning system.

> Hat Advanced Server powered by Red Hat enhanced Fedora Linux and
> supported by Red Hat Corporation" (That's too much to say lol) then I
> believe that your statement would be more accurate.  Besides, does it
> cease to become "Red Hat Advanced Server" at the end of the year if the
> support contract lapses?  This is just a technicality and not worth
> arguing over...

I will be honest, it is at this point in the nitty gritty of the GPL and
other licenses that my head gets dizzy and I need to get a lawyer. I
think that most people who are not fully trained in the legal proffesion
can not parse the code into applicable law-machine-code that will run in
the court-system-CPU. Instead we parse it into a code that runs in our
heads, and then find that we arent compatible with how the court-systems

> >From what I understand, Fedora will be supported by updates only through
> the 4-6 months that it is the active release and 4-6 months while the
> following release is active.  This means the support period will vary
> from 8-12 months.  If, on the other hand, we were guaranteed a full 12
> months updates support for each release, I believe it would fill a very
> big nitch in the market.  It isn't as good as what we had with an option

It is up to the Fedora Legacy committee (when it is sanctioned by Red
Hat) to come up with this in the end. THey will need machines, rules,
etc. The basic line might be that Red Hat engineers wont be doing any
work on any old package after 6 months. It will be up to the community
to bring forth engineers who will volunteer and maintain things
longer... if there arent engineers who can/want/will to this then it is
more of a statement of the community.

This isnt too different from what the Debian legacy people do. They
usually issue a 'we will support the old release for 2-3 months after a
new release, but might support it a bit longer.. but dont count on it.'
And after every release there are the same complaints that this isnt
long enough yadda yadda... however very few of the complainers step up
to help out the maintenance people.

This is also an oppurtunity for resellers to change their markets into
support full organizations versus light support. People like
OwlRiver.com do this already.. they will support Red Hat Linux 5,6, and
7 if you will pay them...

Stephen John Smoogen		smoogen at lanl.gov
Los Alamos National Labrador  CCN-5 Sched 5/40  PH: 4-0645 (note new #)
Ta-03 SM-1498 MailStop B255 DP 10S  Los Alamos, NM 87545
-- So shines a good deed in a weary world. = Willy Wonka --

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