GPL modules for a differently licensed OS'
Posted Sep 6, 2007 1:27 UTC (Thu) by madscientist
In reply to: GPL modules for a differently licensed OS'
Parent article: Relicensing: what's legal and what's right
No, of course the GPL doesn't say anything about RAM, virtual or otherwise. I'm just trying to make concrete the various statements about applicability of the GPL that I've seen FSF folks make over time. As you so eloquently show, this is essentially impossible when it comes to technology--which is very likely why they have learned to never do it! Now I've learned that lesson as well :-). I think we'll just have to go with Justice Potter Stewart's definition: "I know it when I see it". Personally I think it's fairly clear what the FSF intends to be covered, and they obviously feel that the GPL enforces that intent. Since we have no judicial decisions, that's the best we can do.
Although you are certainly correct that the expressed opinions of RMS and Linus will have little effect on what a judge may eventually decide, their opinions are actually of critical importance, in this way: it's impossible for a judge to decide anything about the GPL until a case arrives in her courtroom, and it's impossible for a case to arrive until and unless someone with standing brings it. In the case of RMS the situation is extraordinarily clear: the FSF holds sole copyright to ALL GNU programs, and so it's essentially completely up to RMS to bring that case. So what he thinks about what people are doing with GNU software is the single most important factor. Linus doesn't hold sole copyright to the kernel; however it seems highly unlikely to me that a case involving Linux could go anywhere without his agreement, practically speaking.
I do agree we should get back to coding, though. Much more satisfying!
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