Posted Mar 2, 2011 16:41 UTC (Wed) by dskoll
In reply to: Heh...
Parent article: Red Hat's "obfuscated" kernel source
The difference between the GPL's granting of rights and Red Hat's subscription service is this: The GPL is a license, not a contract. Red Hat's subscription agreement is a contract. You pay Red Hat for support, and in return they give you support. But they also include a landmine in the contract: You are forced to give up rights you'd normally have even in the absence of the support contract. (For example, if Red Hat's segregated kernel patches magically landed in my mailbox, it would be perfectly legal for me to redistribute them under the GPL even though I'm not a Red Hat customer.)
Red Hat's contract adds additional restrictions to the GPL which IMO is a GPL violation. Try this thought experiment:
If Red Hat's contract said: "If you take advantage of the rights under the GPL to redistribute our patches, you agree to pay Red Hat software one billion dollars", then that would clearly be a severe restriction on redistribution.
All that's in dispute is the degree of restriction (which is basically the money you've spent on the support contract.) The existence of an additional restriction cannot be disputed and this violates the GPL.
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