Barry Roomberg on Sun, 20 Jul 2003 18:27:04 -0400

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Re: [PLUG] Which license?

On Sunday 20 July 2003 03:22 pm, William H. Magill wrote:
> On Sunday, July 20, 2003, at 10:44 AM, Tobias DiPasquale wrote:
> > On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 21:40, William H. Magill wrote:
> >
> > The copyright is the real power. With it, you can revoke these rights
> > at
> > a later date, if you wish.
> Interesting. I might even say fascinating...
> The idea that code once released as GPL can be removed from GPL
> seems to be counter to the purpose of the GPL.
> The reputation of the GPL is that if you see it, the software is Open
> for use,
> derivation and modification FOREVER.

Code that is released GPL can't have the GPL revoked.  But an IDENTICAL
copy of the code sitting on the original author's hard disk is still
controlled by the author.  That particular piece of code is not GPL.  

Both copies have have "Copyright" associated with them.  But the GPLed 
copy has a license that is associated with it as it leaves the author's
possession and is given to someone else.  As long as the recipient abides
by the license, the GPL is intact and "controlls" what is allowed to happen
to the code.  If the recipient breaks the GPL, then the Copyright is still
intact and then dramatically limits what the person can do with the code.
They really are not allowed to do anything with it without the author's

The original (not GPLed copy) can then be used for any purpose that the
copyright holder wishes, with any license at all.  

The issue here beomes a possibility of forking.  If another developer takes
the GPL code, makes a modification, and makes it public, and sends the
changes back to the original author, there is problem for the original author.

If he accepts the change, he has then introduced GPL code (as per the 2nd
author) into his original codebase.  This then causes the no-longer original 
code to be GPL since he no longer owns all of the code and has introduced
GPL code into it.

Sistina Corp claimed they got around this.  They released the GFS GPLed.
They then continued to develop, with many people in the wild beta testing.
People files bug reports, things got better, people sent code, things got

When the GFS looked like it was going to be a KILLER product, with Compaq
using it as the cornerstone of the their SSI project, Sistina yanked it back.
They made it proprietary.  They could not revoke all code in the wild, that
was still GPL.  But all future versions coming from Sistina were going to
be for $$$ only.

People freaked out.  They said Sistina could not do this because of the code
that was sent back caused the original code base to become GPL.

Sistina came back with:

Nope! We never applied any of the patches that were sent back.

Outside coders picked up the last released GPL version.  This now
competes with the commercial version.

Last time I looked, the LVM in the kernel is written by Sistina corp. 
I won't use it.

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