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I'm sure lawyers can define Source == source code, in that context you have the source code to the kernel.
Its easy to make up definitions and then base arguments on them, its harder to prove the definition you made up is backed by the law.
What's the complaint?
Posted Mar 4, 2011 7:56 UTC (Fri) by smurf (subscriber, #17840)
The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
making modifications to it.
Whether combining lots of patches into one large patch constitutes a change in "form" would be an argument for the lawyers if this ever goes to court, which I very much doubt.
In my opinion, however, the case is pretty clear -- you simply do not modify that large a patch file. Therefore it's not a "preferred form". Therefore Red Hat is, ideally if not materially, in breach of the GPL.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, not do I play one on TV.
Posted Mar 4, 2011 17:28 UTC (Fri) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Posted Mar 7, 2011 22:26 UTC (Mon) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
E.g. if the patches are of no import to making modifications to a source code, then why have RedHat decided to try get a competitive advantage by withholding them? Clearly RedHat feel having the split-out patches helps them to maintain and modify the kernel they ship. My experience is that having patches (more precisely, access to the history) can be *very* important to making further modifications (finding recently introduced bugs particularly, and modifying them).
I know RedHat is "Good", I know they put in lots of resources into Linux and free software. I really want them to be able to succeed in their business. However, let's be careful to remain dispassionate about this - do any GPL copyright holders involved really want to concede that it's perfectly fine for distributors to deliberately withhold fairly important source-related information? (Obviously some of those copyright holders also have a strong interest in the continuing success of RedHat).
Posted Mar 7, 2011 22:41 UTC (Mon) by foom (subscriber, #14868)
Posted Mar 7, 2011 23:25 UTC (Mon) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
that doesn't mean that I think what they are doing is good in this area, just that it is within the letter of the rules. I think that them making this change erodes their moral position, but the GPL isn't dependant on people making good decisions for moral reasons, it's only dependant on people making the decisions to comply with the letter of the license (or if it requires more than just compliance with the letter of the license, there may be a need for a license change, but I don't believe that there is)
the only piece I have a legalistic problem is with them releasing code in some form to users, but only under the condition that those users don't redistribute the code (and if the users violate this condition, penalties kick in)
Posted Mar 8, 2011 7:38 UTC (Tue) by paulj (subscriber, #341)
1. RedHat work on the source in form A
2. Form B is auto-generated from A
3. Form B is distributed to comply with the GPL.
A is the src.rpm with the split patches: the format they've preferred for donkey's years and, I'm presuming to be a dead certainty, are continuing to use internally, and B is the src.rpm with the patches deliberately collapsed. Talking about email or conversations is a misdirection - binaries never get machine-built from such. The patches *are* a source input to the process that builds the distributed src.rpms though, and the reason they are an input is because that's RedHats' preferred means of making modifications.
Look at the flow above again, form B *clearly* is covered by the GPL through the text in which explains what "preferred form" is meant to cover. It's pretty explicit that intermediate transformations of the sources are *not* sufficient, that *all* the files required for input to the build process are required.
Just because an auto-generated file is still human-readable and editable does not take-away from the fact it's not the original source.
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