Tobias DiPasquale on Sun, 20 Jul 2003 10:45:13 -0400

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Re: [PLUG] Which license?

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 21:40, William H. Magill wrote:
> My understanding of the GPL is that the author GIVES UP "control" of 
> the code when they put it under that license -- that is to say, the 
> author 1) can no longer derive any "private" use of the code (i.e. 
> extractions/derivations/modifications etc. of that code are also 
> GPL'd), and 2) has no ability to say who can and who cannot use (or 
> modify) the code for whatever reason.

The copyright is the real power. With it, you can revoke these rights at
a later date, if you wish. Also, the copyright is the key to the power
of dual-licensing such as Sleepycat's Berkeley DB software (which is
both GPL and proprietary, depending on what you want to do with it).

Also, there can certainly be "private" uses of the code, as long as you
don't distribute software based on that code. For instance, if you use
GPL'd software that __YOU'VE__ modified in an appliance or service, you
don't need to distribute the source, since you're not "distributing" the
software, only a service. (this is what TiVo and DirecTV do; a TiVo is
nothing but a 200Mhz Linux box with a HDD, TV tuner and some Python
scripts to control it all)

And, as I said earlier, the author can always do what he wants with the
code since they own the copyright. This is the source of all licences'

> Furthermore, the Copyright to the code is owned by the Free Software 
> Foundation, not the author. Which places the enforcement ability in the 
> hands of the FSF, not the author.

This is only true if you give it to them. This is not the case with the
Linux kernel, for example. Nor any GPL'd code I ever wrote. From the top
of linux-2.4.20.tar.gz:linux-2.4.20/COPYING:

 "Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software
 Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to (the Linux
 kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually wrote it."

> The purpose of the GPL being to forever remove ANYONE from having the 
> ability to "control" use of the code. (Which I realize, is a kind of 
> "control.") The only requirement for use of the code is to publish the 
> source.

Again, the copyright is the source of all abilities/rights/etc. not the

Tobias DiPasquale
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