It'll be interesting indeed...
Posted Mar 7, 2011 19:14 UTC (Mon) by vonbrand
In reply to: It'll be interesting indeed...
Parent article: Commitment to Open (Red Hat News)
No, it isn't. FSF requires copyright assignment before they accept your changes. Once you have assigned copyright to them, they can well do as they please with your changes, i.e., distributing them (or not) in whatever form they desire. Nobody has any legal standing to sue them over what they do with their own stuff.
Once somebody else gets, say, GCC, from the FSF, they are bound to honor GPL. Saying that FSF usually has distributed their packages only as monolithic tarballs is sort of a red hering. But others have followed suit, and FSF didn't say a word. So, in a sense they have set an example by their own actions and what they have allowed historically. And this could presumably be important in case some court considers ruling on what GPL's meaning of "preferred form for modification" really means.
Also don't forget that for the most part of its history Linux itself was distributed as tarball + monolithic patches as the only format available, and later (in the bitkeeper days) that was still the canonical format. This does weight a lot against the "git trees are the preferred form" arguments.
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